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The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 65.89
Liaison Marian Brown
Submission Date Dec. 13, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Wells College
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 2.00 Marian Brown
Director
Center for Sustainability and the Environment
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area (i.e. the total amount of land within the institutional boundary):
300 Acres

Figures required to calculate the total area of managed grounds:
Area (double-counting is not allowed)
Area managed in accordance with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program that uses a four-tiered approach 160.51 Acres
Area managed in accordance with an organic land care standard or sustainable landscape management program that has eliminated the use of inorganic fertilizers and chemical pesticides, fungicides and herbicides in favor of ecologically preferable materials 0.01 Acres
Area managed using conventional landscape management practices (which may include some IPM principles or techniques) 0 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 160.52 Acres

A brief description of any land excluded from the area of managed grounds (e.g. the footprint of buildings and impervious surfaces, experimental agricultural land, areas that are not regularly managed or maintained):

Wells College took over management of the golf course in 2017.


Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an IPM program:
99.99

A copy of the IPM plan or program:
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A brief description of the IPM program:

Facilities Grounds uses guidelines for integrated pest management turfgrass as developed by the Penn State Center for Turfgrass Science. Those complete guidelines can be found at: http://plantscience.psu.edu/research/centers/turf/extension/factsheets/itpm-program

The highlights of the PennState Soil Science IPM approach to turfgrass management include:

1. Assessing Site Conditions and Characteristics.
Collection of all site-related information affecting the health of turfgrasses and the degree to which they can withstand pest infestation, including amount of shade present, density of ornamental plantings or other barriers surrounding the turf that may restrict air movement, soil fertility, soil compaction, drainage, the current cultural program, and how the turf is being used (recreational, athletic, aesthetic).

2. Conduct Pest Survey
Determining the identity, location, and populations of turfgrass weeds, insects, and diseases at the site and identifying the environmental conditions and times of the year that certain pests are likely to occur or cause damage.

3. Determining Pest Response Threshold Levels.
Using site and pest assessments, establish the pest response threshold levels for each pest based on aesthetics and the use of the turf.

4. Developing a Monitoring and Record-Keeping Program.
Monitoring techniques include frequent visual inspection of the site to detect early signs of disease activity (e.g. fungal infections) and well as monitoring current and forecast weather conditions to anticipate pest development and damage.

5. The Decision-Making Process.
The decision to implement pest control measures in a turfgrass IPM program involves using and interpreting information from the site assessment, the pest survey, pest response threshold levels, and the monitoring program. When and if a pest becomes a problem, the proper control measures can be selected. Control options can include cultural practices, genetic controls, bio-rationals, and/or pesticide applications.

The decision to implement particular control options depends on several factors. These include the effectiveness of the control procedure, cost of the treatment, size of the area to be treated, availability of labor, availability of equipment necessary to do the job, and reaction of the end user. It is also important to consider any possible side effects that may result from your course of action, such as damage to the turf (phytotoxicity), nontarget effects (bird kills, leaching or runoff of pesticides, or enhancement of other pests), or the possibility that a pest will become resistant to a pesticide.


Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an organic program:
0.01

A brief description of the organic land standard or landscape management program that has eliminated the use of inorganic fertilizers and chemical pesticides, fungicides and herbicides in favor of ecologically preferable materials:

There are two student organic gardens, one behind McGordon House, which is maintained through amendment of soil with compost, and no application of non-organic fertilizer. Weeds and pests are manually removed or exclosed with fencing. The Spring 2017 introduction to Gardening class designed and constructed three raised bed gardens which were filled with organic soil mix containing compost; no additional fertilizers have been used. The beds have been manually weeded as needed. No pests have been noted.


A brief description of the institution's approach to plant stewardship:

Where possible, the institution protects and maintains existing native vegetation, and replaces native trees and plants with like materials.

With support from student organizations, like the Wells Campus Greens and F.O.R.C.E.S. (Friends of Recreation, Conservation and Environmental Stewardship), the Facilities Grounds group has engaged in invasive species "pulls" on campus, especially focusing on aggressive, non-native invasive plants like Black Swallowwort and garlic mustard. Grounds has collaborated with faculty in the Biology department and to conduct surveys of campus wooded areas to identify and monitor invasive species, like Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA - present in a limited infestation) and Emerald Ash Borer (not yet present). The College also collaborated with professionals from Cayuga County Planning and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cayuga County to allow access for invasive species surveys, particularly focusing on HWA.


A brief description of the institution's approach to hydrology and water use:

There are several streams running through the unmanaged sections of the campus, including two good-sized gorges. These areas are being retained as "no development zones" and are maintained as active riparian buffers for the Cayuga Lake Watershed. Referring back to the invasive species monitoring question, we are closely monitoring the small infestation of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid found in a recent survey, as the affected hemlocks are located in and around one of those large gorge areas. Any loss of those hemlocks would negatively impact their ability to provide stream shading and stream bank integrity.

Two raingardens were created near Stratton Hall as part of that building's sustainable design to help manage storm runoff.


A brief description of the institution's approach to materials management and waste minimization (e.g. composting and/or mulching on-site waste):

The College removes leaf litter and other yard waste from campus sidewalks and roadways, and transports such material to another site on campus where it can compost. Those composted yard waste materials are reused in campus beds.

Some of the collected leaves are also used to layer with spent coffee grounds from the student-run GRIND Coffeehouse on campus, in a vermiculture (worm composting) demonstration - the resulting compost will be used on student-managed gardens. Fallen leaves under landscape plants are generally left in place, so they can provide valuable nutrients as they decompose.

Facilities Grounds utilizes mowers with mulching blades so leaves and organic debris on mown lawn areas are ground into finer pieces that degrade naturally, providing valuable nutrients and soil enrichment.


A brief description of the institution's approach to energy-efficient landscape design:

Any hard scaping and sidewalks around most buildings are kept light-colored, so as to reflect light and reduce heat island effect. Several buildings feature exterior plantings that assist with building energy conservation by creating windbreaks in winter and building shading in summer to reduce cooling load.


A brief description of other sustainable landscape management practices employed by the institution (e.g. use of environmentally preferable landscaping materials, initiatives to reduce the impacts of ice and snow removal, wildfire prevention):

The College has switched from rock salt for ice management on sidewalks and campus roads to a more environmentally-friendly magnesium salt formulation that is non-toxic to humans and animals and less damaging to turf and hardscape surfaces (concrete) than sodium salt products, as well as having less of a negative environmental impact on the Cayuga Lake watershed. Snow is generally piled in areas where it will naturally melt and be absorbed into and filtered through soil, rather than run directly off into storm drains.

In light snowfall conditions, sidewalks are cleared either manually with snow shovels or with the use of hand-held leaf blowers, instead of heavy application of snowmelt chemicals.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.