Southern Oregon University Landscape
The Landscape Team at SOU is deeply committed to conservation and sustainability. Check out some of the things we're doing:
**For updates in real time about all of the fun things our crew gets up to, follow us on Facebook at Southern Oregon University Landscape**
SOU is the Nation's First Ever Bee Campus USA:
In April of 2015, SOU became the first ever Bee Campus USA after months of collaboration between SOU's Landscape Services Dept., SOU professor and local Pollinator Project Rogue Valley founder Jamie Hickner, and the Bee City USA non-profit located in Asheville, North Carolina. We have planted five pesticide-free pollinator gardens on campus so far and continue to incorporate native, pollinator-friendly plant species across campus.
We Compost Food From the Hawk & Elmo's!:
Our Annual Arbor Day Celebration:
Since 2014, SOU’s Landscape Services Dept. has hosted an annual Arbor Day Celebration inviting local K-12 schools, members of the surrounding community, our own student body, faculty, staff, and admin to join us for a free day of education, service learning, community-building, planting and fun. By engaging hundreds of people in hands-on activities and hosting renowned educators, like Mycologist Paul Stamets, we build inspiration to care for our environment. We also offer Continuing Education Units to local landscape professionals and arborists and thereby help educate those who maintain residential, business and municipal areas in our region about healthy and sustainable practices.
The main event is an enormous, campus-wide planting party. Everyone comes together to help us plant dozens of trees and hundreds of plants every year building strong senses of stewardship, pride and connection to the places we live, work, and study. Our native campus Arboretum is the focus of Arbor Day 2016.
Tree Campus USA:
In 2014, Southern Oregon University was accredited with the Arbor Day Foundation's Tree Campus USA award for our work promoting our community forest on campus and helping educate people about the enormous value trees bring to our lives and to the ecosystems we live in.
Tree of the Year:
SOU's Silver Maple tree in the courtyard between the Shasta and McLoughlin dorm buildings won the City of Ashland's Tree of the Year award for 2014.
SOU Botanical & Botanical Tours:
Collaborating with Environmental Science student, Daniel Collay, for his senior capstone project as well as faculty, and staff across campus we are developing signed Sustainability and Botanical Tours to educate our regional community about SOU’s myriad of sustainability programs and biodiversity. To recruit students and foster community-wide engagement, participants are guided by interactive informational signs through a tour from The Farm at SOU, to bioswales and solar arrays at our dorms and Student Union, up to our native Arboretum, through the ECOS community gardens, our pesticide-free Pollinator Gardens and more; over 100 specimen plants and sustainability projects are featured. Our digital campus map includes Sustainability and Botanical Tour layers that allow people to find and read about any spot along the tours. Creating these accessible tours illuminates and encourages the ways in which our campus and greater community can expand sustainability in their lives on- and off-campus.
SOU Landscape has pledged with the Friends of the Earth Bee Cause Campaignto stop the use of all neonicotinoids, a harmful type of systemic insecticide, on campus in an effort to help protect bees and other pollinators.
SOU is a Certified Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation:
Keep your eyes peeled for the new Certified Wildlife Habitat signs around campus.
We are committed to providing the four basic elements for wildlife to thrive on campus, and although we don't always appreciate the deer munching all of our plants we accept that this is their home. There are many types of wildlife on campus that our campus provides habitat for including birds, pollinators, insects, and other mammals like squirrels. A number of downy woodpeckers and other birds have been spotted nesting in trees on campus.
Growing Fungi on Campus:
We have recently also begun an effort to provide the essential elements for fungus to thrive on campus. We have inoculated several logs with various types of edible mushroom spores and have placed them across campus. The picture below shows how we drilled holes into particular types of logs harvested from campus and inserted wooden dowels that are covered in fungi spores into the holes. After the dowels are inserted we covered each hole with a little bit of beeswax in order to protect the fungus from getting eaten before it has a chance to form mushrooms. Have you seen any of these log sections that have wax on them placed in shady spots around campus? Keep an eye on them because pretty soon mushrooms will begin to fruit right out of the wood.
SOU’s Commitment to Water Conservation:
In 2013, SOU's administration courageously opted to invest financially into the future sustainability of the campus irrigation system. The landscaping department undertook the most fundamental irrigation upgrade in SOU’s history. The Landscape Services Department, with support from the SOU Information Technologies Department and the SOU Building Maintenance Department Electricians, was able to disassemble and install all new Baseline Irrigation Solutions controllers and Smart Hydro-meter Flow valves.
By installing 50 Smart Moisture Sensors below ground throughout campus, we now have the ability to monitor live water flow. This provides us graphical representation of the soil moisture levels throughout the different micro-climates on campus. Our Baseline Irrigation Solutions system has the ability to automatically adjust run times via Moisture Sensors on individual zones to ensure that the appropriate amount of water is being delivered to each area. This will help reduce the amount of run-off water on sidewalks, parking lots, and roads. Our Hydro-meter Flow Valves automatically sense breaks in the lines, inform us electronically and shut down the lines until the repairs have been made. The Smart Valves also record graphical flow data and monitor usage in GPM (gallons per minute).
The 2014 North Campus Village landscape designed by local Landscape Architect Greg Covey, will meet LEED Environmental Design qualifications. It was designed with the latest technology in water saving irrigation and utilizes Baseline Irrigation Solutions system. The Irrigation system coupled with drought tolerant plants and a large number of trees make it very sustainable.
Watering is monitored by Landscape Services staff between 7:00 A.M. and 4:00 P.M., and is controlled by the Baseline Irrigation Solutions System at all times. Please report immediately any malfunctioning or misdirected irrigation equipment to 541-552-6117, or submit aWORK REQUEST. On weekends, please contact Campus Public Safety (541-552-6911) to obtain FMP emergency numbers.