WATER & WILDLIFE CAMPAIGN: Our problem is two-fold: First, our campus is covered mostly by buildings, concrete and asphalt, so it not only forms a heat island, but also when it rains, very little water seeps into the ground. We want to reduce temperatures on campus and enable what open ground we do have to absorb more water by planting native and climate appropriate plants. The root systems of these plants will prevent rain from running off immediately after rain and will store it beneath the surface. Second, these native plants will provide food and shelter for native fauna (insects, butterflies, birds) and will occupy space in the landscape that is either barren , or covered with invasive and environmentally damaging weeds
Our approach to these problems will involve both research and action. We will research plants appropriate to our soil type and climate. We will weed out invasive plants, then we will purchase and plant environmentally appropriate plants and care for them as they acclimate to the environment.
Each student will be responsible for a specific plant or small garden section. To judge our success, we will observe and record data on the growth of individual plants. We will also keep a running wildlife census with twice daily recordings of insects, butterflies and birds observed in the vicinity of the planting areas. Students will research the connection between the wildlife observed and the particular item in the garden that is attracting it. This should be evidence that our planting has been successful. We will also be taking temperature readings of ground near the plants and contrasting it with unplanted areas to see if we have been successful in cooling the campus environment.