Sustaining a Green and Pollinator-Friendly Campus
Horticulture, by its very nature, is a sustainable area. Our Horticulture and Grounds Department takes its efforts a step further, incorporating environmental practices in other areas, as well.
SU’s sustainable horticulture initiatives and achievements include:
- Granted American Public Gardens Association arboretum status in 1998
- Arbor Day Foundation Tree Campus USA recognition
- Receiving the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forest Service and Forestry Council’s Green People Loving and Nurturing Trees (PLANT) Award – the organizations’ highest sustainability honor — multiple times
- Certified as an official Monarch Watch butterfly waystation
- Certified through Bee Campus USA
- Using liquid dish soap and water instead of harsh chemicals to remove insects in greenhouse and interior spaces
- Weeding planting beds manually instead of using potentially toxic weed killer
- Using mulching blades on SU lawnmowers to reduce waste and add nutrients back into the soil from grass and leaves
- Irrigating landscaping only when necessary to maintain its health
- Partnering with students on Green Fund projects, including implementing a native species garden
SU’s Native Species Garden adjacent to the Commons Building
Why native plants?
Native pollinators coevolved with native plants, developing mutual reliance on each other for survival. In fact, 90% of the world’s wild plants depend on pollinators to reproduce.
Non-native plants, which often dominate ornamental landscapes, do not provide sufficient food and nesting resources for native pollinators. Incorporating native plants in the landscape benefits the entire ecosystem, including humans. A third of the food we eat is courtesy of insect pollination.
Interested in planting natives in your own landscape? Here are some resource and recommendation guides to help you pick the best option for your specific site:
- Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation’s list of plants for the Mid-Atlantic Region
- University of Maryland Extension’s recommended native plants for Maryland
- U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping - Chesapeake Bay Watershed
Are looking to purchase some native plants? The Maryland Native Plant Society maintains a list of regional native plant vendors: https://www.mdflora.org/nurseries.html
SU students educating their community about the importance of bees
Transparent display hives allow students to see honey bees in action