Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 79.98
Liaison Lindsey Lyons
Submission Date March 5, 2021

STARS v2.2

Dickinson College
OP-10: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Neil Leary
Director
Center for Sustainability Education
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution own or manage land that includes or is adjacent to legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, or regions of conservation importance?:
No

A brief description of the legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, and/or regions of conservation importance:
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Has the institution conducted an assessment to identify endangered and vulnerable species (including migratory species) with habitats on land owned or managed by the institution?:
Yes

A list of endangered and vulnerable species with habitats on land owned or managed by the institution, by level of extinction risk:

There are no known species that are federally listed as endangered or threatened on Dickinson owned or managed lands. The following species are listed by the state of Pennsylvania as of conservation concern have been observed at Dickinson’s farm in Boiling Springs, PA or at the Reineman Wildlife Sanctuary, an area of biodiversity importance at which Dickinson operates a field lab and conducts research.

Euphorbia purpurea (glade spurge)
Solidago speciosa (showy goldenrod)
Eurybia radula (rough-leaved aster)
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
Northern Harrier (Circus hudsonius)
Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus)
Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis)
Broad-winged Hawk (Buteo platypterus)
Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)
Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica)
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)
Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)
Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina)
Black and White Warbler (Mniotilta varia)
Blackburnian Warbler (Setophaga fusca)
Blackpoll Warbler (Setophaga striata)
Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens)
Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga citrina)
Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)
Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea)
Red crossbill (Loxia curvirostra)
Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus)
Brown Creeper (Certhia americana
White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)
Allegheny Woodrat (Neotoma magister)
Copperhead (Certhia americana)
Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)
Eastern fence Lizard (Sceloporus undulatus)


Has the institution conducted an assessment to identify areas of biodiversity importance on land owned or managed by the institution?:
Yes

A brief description of areas of biodiversity importance on land owned or managed by the institution:

The Dickinson Farm, located in Boiling Springs, PA, is located 6 miles from the main campus. The 90 acre farm is managed using sustainable practices to grow vegetables and raise livestock for the campus and community and is USDA-certified organic. Management practices seek integrate wildlife habitat into the working farm, which includes unmanaged woodlots, silvopasture, vegetable crop fields and grass alleyways. The farm borders the Yellow Breeches, a high-quality trout stream, and manages a riparian buffer that was established and planted to protect the stream.

The Reineman Wildlife Sanctuary is a 3400-acre tract of forest located 20 minutes from the Dickinson campus on the shoulders of the Kittatinny Ridge, an internationally important raptor flyway. The sanctuary is owned and managed by the Natural Lands Trust. Dickinson students and faculty, as specified in the deed trust, have rights of access to the sanctuary for research and study and Dickinson manages a field laboratory and weather station at Reineman in collaboration with the Natural Lands Trust.


The methodologies used to identify endangered and vulnerable species and/or areas of biodiversity importance and any ongoing assessment and monitoring mechanisms:

Students in Dickinson's Agroecology, Ecology and Natural History of Vertebrates courses assess and regularly monitor species and habitats on the Dickinson College Farm, including a system of "Hub Ponds" designed and managed to provide habitat for beneficial native insects and American Toads. Methods include the use of pitfall traps along transects that cross unmanaged woodlot areas, silvopasture, vegetable crop fields and grass alleyways. Students calculate the diversity of morphospecies and the abundance of key taxa of beetles and spiders that are important biological controls on the farm. The collected data are used to assess whether Dickinson’s farm is working as designed to support beneficial species that are important to pest management.

Dickinson students and faculty regularly conduct research at the Reineman Wildlife Sanctuary to monitor the white-tail deer population and their impacts on plant communities, an important issue for the sustainability of forests in Pennsylvania. The research data is provided to the Natural Lands Trust and is used by them in managing the sanctuary.


A brief description of the scope of the assessment(s):

The scope of the assessments at the Dickinson Farm includes vertebrate and invertebrate species of animals and plants that support native pollinators. The assessments span multiple land uses across the farm, including unmanaged woodlot, silvopasture, vegetable crop fields and grass alleyways. The scope of the assessments at the Reineman Wildlife Sanctuary address white-tail deer populations and their impacts on plant communities.


A brief description of the plans or programs in place to protect or positively affect identified species, habitats, and/or ecosystems:

The Dickinson College Farm is a certified organic farm that includes naturalized areas that provide habitat for wildlife, with an emphasis on native pollinators, and a system of "Hub Ponds" designed and managed to provide habitat for beneficial native insects and American Toads. In addition to the Hub Ponds, areas of naturalized and native vegetation are maintained to provide habitat for pollinators and other wildlife. Organic practices for pest management help protect species that are present on the farm, while soil conservation practices are employed to prevent erosion and limit runoff into the Yellow Breeches Creek, a high-quality trout stream that borders the farm. An agroforestry project, funded by a grant from the US Forest Service, has as a goal to improve species diversity on the farm. A bluebird trail with bluebird boxes support a robust population of bluebirds on the farm.

The Dickinson College Farm and Dickinson's Alliance for Aquatic Resources Monitoring collaborated with a neighboring dairy farm to create a riparian buffer along the Yellow Breeches. The area had been used by the dairy farm to water their cows, resulting in substantial nutrient pollution entering the creek and damage to the banks of the creek. With the agreement of the dairy farm, the area has been fenced off to keep cows out of the creek and away from the buffer zone. The Dickinson Farm and ALLARM planted native trees and shrubs in the buffer zone to stabilize the soils and banks and to filter runoff from the dairy farm.

Research data collected by Dickinson students and faculty at the Reineman Wildlife Sanctuary are provided to the Natural Lands Trust and is used by them in managing the sanctuary to protect wildlife. Dickinson also collaborates with the Natural Lands Trust to cultivate fenced plots of three species of Pennsylvania-listed plants that are used to propagate the plants and serve as a seed source for reintroduction of the species in areas of Montgomery County Pennsylvania where their populations have been drastically reduced.


Estimated percentage of areas of biodiversity importance that are also protected areas :
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Website URL where information about the institution’s biodiversity initiatives is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.