Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.71
Liaison Keisha Payson
Submission Date Feb. 28, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Bowdoin College
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.15 / 2.00 Keisha Payson
Sustainability Coordinator
Sustainable Bowdoin
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area (i.e. the total amount of land within the institutional boundary):
527.50 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 218 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 79 Acres
Area managed using conventional landscape management practices (which may include some IPM principles or techniques) 30 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 327 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):

The 200 acres on Kent Island is monitored but not mowed or treated.


Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an IPM program:
66.67

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

Facilities Management monitors all turf areas and landscape materials for pests, weeds, fungus, etc. and reacts to what it finds. Certain areas have greater monitoring than others, such as the athletic fields, the main quad, and areas around academic buildings. These areas have a lower threshold of tolerance for pests, etc. and get treated accordingly. Bowdoin's Facilities Management horticultural practices are designed to maintain healthy plants or dense turf in an effort to prevent weeds or pests from becoming established. Some examples of this plan are: trimming trees, fertilizing turf with compost tea, aerating lawns, and maintaining proper moisture levels in the soil to help maintain healthy plants.


Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an organic program:
24.16

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:

The Town of Brunswick’s aquifer protection zone includes Bowdoin’s Whittier Field, home of Bowdoin’s football team. Because of this designation, the college began treating the field organically in 2002. Utilizing an organic program of aeration, compost tea, and hand weeding, over time the college has developed a completely organic means of caring for the landscape. Bowdoin has expanded the organic treatment across 60 percent of the central campus, including the Cleaveland Quad, Main Quad, Coe Quad, and the president’s residence and guest house. The treatments utilize ingredients such as corn gluten, seaweed, bone meal and manure, and pest deterrents such as red pepper and garlic oils.


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

Native white pines account for over 50% of the approximately 1600 trees on campus, with red oak and sugar maples dominating the remaining species. The pine remains the predominant and signature tree on campus, although throughout the College's history, large deciduous trees have been planted on the campus. The health of the trees is improved by increasing diversity of non-invasive species. Bowdoin's tree inventory requires planting of underrepresented and unrepresented native trees in order to avoid the introduction of monocultures. In site design, native shrub species are planted to minimize the impacts of the development process, reduce water use, and to reduce alteration as well as ecological disturbance.
Site design strives to reconnect fragmented landscapes and establish contiguous networks with other natural systems both within the site and adjacent systems beyond its boundaries. Campus design standards attempt to avoid major alterations to sensitive topography, vegetation, and wildlife habitat.


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

The campus landscapes with native species that do not require irrigation. High-visibility grassed areas of campus do receive water during dry weather. In recent years, as a means of conserving water, the college installed a below-ground irrigation system on athletic fields at Pickard Field and the Main and Cleaveland Quads. These systems monitor the moisture in the soil and only water accordingly. The systems are automated to operate in the early morning hours before the sun rises to reduce evaporation during the watering cycle. The campus maintains a mowing height of 2.5 to 3 inches, which encourages deeper root growth, thus reducing the need for watering. Utilizing mulching mowers, grass clippings are left on the lawn. On the rare occasion when they need to be removed, the clippings are composted.


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

Organic material is collected, and a contractor removes it and incorporates the material in their compost. Some compost is used on campus along with mulch purchased from another vendor.


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

During the winter, the grounds crew intentionally leaves certain pathways across the central campus unplowed in an effort to minimize costs, emissions, salt use, and lawn damage.

The grounds department has allocated funds to purchase electric-powered equipment by the end of the current fiscal year, with plans to test their performance in comparison to the current gasoline-powered equipment.


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):

To reduce the environmental impact of salting during Maine winters, Bowdoin uses a product called Magic Salt. Magic Salt is ordinary rock salt that has been treated with an agricultural by-product of the distilling process blended with magnesium chloride. It is a nontoxic, biodegradable product and has a corrosion index lower than distilled water. The grounds staff also attempts to balance the needs of pedestrian access versus snow and ice removal. Several campus paths are not maintained during the winter, in large part to reduce salt usage that can cause damage to nearby tree roots.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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