Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 81.45
Liaison Lindsey Lyons
Submission Date March 1, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Dickinson College
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.45 / 2.00 Lindsey Lyons
Assistant Director
Center for Sustainability Education
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area (i.e. the total amount of land within the institutional boundary):
301 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 120.92 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 97.40 Acres
Area managed using conventional landscape management practices (which may include some IPM principles or techniques) 0 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 218.32 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 120.921 represents vegetated grounds on Carlisle campus only. This excludes buildings, sidewalks, parking lots, impervious surfaces. The 97.0 acres is the acreage of our Boiling Springs farm that is in active Dickinson management (excludes leased land).

Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an IPM program:

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

1) Grounds personnel have strictly limited the use of pesticides within the landscape, particularly neonicotinoids because of the possible harm to pollinators. Pest thresholds are set and monitored for infestation. If pesticide use is necessary, personnel will spot treat where possible before applying more broadly.

2) For grub control at athletic fields, turf is lifted and grub amounts monitored on a scheduled basis. For a number of years, purple martin birdhouses have been raised at the athletic fields. The birds eat insects that contribute to the turf grub population, particularly after a mowing. This has substantially cut down on pesticide use and turf loss.
3) Grounds personnel use the most environmentally friendly pesticides on the market. All personnel are Pennsylvania registered applicators and are continually educated in the most sustainable application techniques available, including no spraying when pollinators are present and limiting drift. If harsher chemicals are used, they are used sparingly. Example: Neonicotinoids are used only on wind-pollinated plants.

4) Timing and efficiency are important in the application of pesticides. A properly timed pre-emergent and mulch cut down on weeds and extra weeding time. Hand weeding in perennial beds and direct injection for trees are the preferred choices.
5) The use of organic IPM, such as water force for the removal of aphids, and growing specific flowering plants to attract beneficial insects is used, particularly in the vegetable gardens. Planting trees and shrubs for birds, and using water features to attract them are also done around campus.

6) When applicable, narrow spectrum pesticides are preferred, as opposed to selecting broad-spectrum pesticides. This allows us to preserve beneficial insects that may be present in the landscape, and truly provides a measure of control to only the detrimental insects.

7) New practices for tree pesticide application are available and being utilized. New technology allows us to inject the materials into the vascular system of the trees, which can deliver the materials directly to the tissues where insects are feeding, or diseases are present. By using this technology, there are no drift management issues; it is safer for the applicator, and for the public.

Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an organic program:

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:

As a USDA Certified Organic agricultural program, the farm does not use synthetic pesticides or herbicides. Instead, insects are controlled biologically and manually. To prevent the spread of plant diseases, the College Farm maintains a vigorous crop rotation and takes preventative measures to keep unwanted diseases at bay. The College Farm places a strong emphasis on plant diversity. By creating a diverse agricultural landscape, we help minimize the presence of unwanted diseases and work with the resources on hand to sustain a balanced ecosystem.

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

1) Plant Stewardship: Although Dickinson College is moving toward native landscapes, it is worth noting that our traditional landscapes of campus “Greens” shaded by tall, old trees highlight an exceptionally beautiful urban campus that reflects the pride of 240 years in existence.
a. An inventory of all the trees on campus has been created by the college arborist, not just to record species and maintain health/maintenance records, but also with the goal of possibly becoming an arboretum in the future.
b. Sustainable turf management includes keeping clippings on lawns to promote healthier turf and soil, and mowing to a height deemed healthy for turf. Mowing frequency depends on the time of year and done so that about one third of the leaf blade is removed at each mowing, thus reducing stress on the grass, and the chance for disease. Mower blades are sharpened frequently to ensure a clean cut.
c. Athletic fields: Turf is monitored to keep thatch at ¼ to ½ inches, which ensures adequate water/nutrient infiltration.
d. Athletic fields: Due to the stress of compaction, aerification is done on an annual basis to obtain proper air and water infiltration.
e. Battery powered blowers are used to cut down on fuel emissions. Larger mowers are fuel-injected, using less fuel than regular mowers with the added benefit of having more power.
f. Yearly fertilization is typically done with two or three applications depending on the area and plants involved. Much of the fertilizing is done in the fall using a slow-release fertilizer to cut down on excess nutrients leaking into ground water, and to prepare plants for winter and a healthy spring. Properly timed fertilization in spring and summer promotes healthy growth. Athletic fields use a nitrogen-based fertilizer up to three times a year to keep turf healthy for the rigors of constant use.
g. Using seed cultivars that are disease resistant cuts down on fungicide use.
h. Using ecotype plants more adapted to our environment prevents excessive plant loss.

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

4) Hydrology and water use:
a. Rain gardens filled with native plants have been installed around campus to help control rainwater run-off into the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. More rain gardens will be installed this year.
b. Curbside retention basins were installed around the Kline Center to control and direct storm water into a submerged holding tank for ground water control.
c. The irrigation systems at the athletic fields are checked on a weekly basis to ensure proper operation and to maintain optimum moisture levels for turf. Systems are controlled to prevent water use at night or on rainy/cloudy days.
d. Drought-tolerant native plants are used to cut down on water use.

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

Composting is done on a large scale at the Dickinson College organic farm. Food debris is picked up at various locations around campus and transported to the farm. Completed compost is then used on the farm, at the community garden, and at other areas around campus. Material from the college’s debris lot is also used as mulch or top-dressing for the community garden and flowerbeds.

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

The College is committed to the LEED program in its buildings and adheres to similar sustainability values in its landscape. This include materials, lighting, and maintenance being incorporated into all design. Dickinson approved formal Landscape Design Guidelines in 2014 that outline extensive energy efficiency concepts and strategies.

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):

For snow and ice removal, mechanical means such as plows and shovels are used first (depending on the amount of snow), followed by the monitoring of sunlight and temperature to melt what is left on sidewalks and parking lots. The use of ice-melting compounds are used only when necessary for the safety of the Dickinson College community.

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

During the past 10 years, the college landscape has been changing to reflect important sustainability goals, which include a campus-wide dedication to hands-on sustainability education and stewardship. To reflect these goals, landscape design and management has focused not only on the health of plants, but on the areas that sustain them – from soil to water management, to insects and other wildlife, and to how the landscape is viewed. The Dickinson College landscape has become a living laboratory, enhancing what is taught in the classroom with a hands-on, real-world experience.

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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.