Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 71.65
Liaison Laura Bain
Submission Date Jan. 19, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Furman University
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.00 / 2.00 Laura Bain
Associate Director of Sustainability Assessment
David E. Shi Center for Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area (i.e. the total amount of land within the institutional boundary):
763 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 0 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 1 Acres
Area managed using conventional landscape management practices (which may include some IPM principles or techniques) 400 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 401 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 footprint of buildings, impervious surfaces (roads, patios, etc), and forested areas areas that are not regularly managed or maintained are excluded from the area of managed grounds.

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:

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:

The 1/4 acre Furman Farm, fiber dye garden, and several small xeriscaped and/or wildflower areas are managed with ecologically preferable materials. Sustainable agricultural practices such as crop rotations, composting, drip lines, natural fertilizers, and integrated pest management eliminate the use of inorganic fertilizers, chemical pesticides, fungicides and herbicides in these areas.

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

Native Plants are specifically used around the Furman lake, Shi Center for Sustainability, and around Townes Science Center.

Some areas of campus are maintained with xeriscape landscaping techniques, including drought tolerant and native species as appropriate. The area surrounding Cliffs Cottage, the Susan Shi ornamental garden, is a highlight of the university's xeriscaped landscape. Other areas of campus which employ xeriscape techniques include the landscape at Farmer Hall, our Child Development Center, Tennis Center, Track Infield, and several recreation fields on campus.

The Lake Restoration Project addresses runoff and erosion by planting native wildflower meadows on the shore. They intercept and absorb more surface runoff than turfgrass, and also add more color, structure, and diversity. Example: Pickerel Weed is a perennial aquatic plant native to the Americas, ranging from Canada to Argentina. The plants are very efficient biological filters of polluted water in artificial wetlands like Furman Lake.

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

The chemical characteristics of Furman Lake, its feeder streams, and the outlet stream that runs to the Reedy River have been studied for several years as part of the River Basins Research Initiative (RBRI) - the largest and longest-running interdisciplinary research program in the university's history. Spearheaded by the Earth and Environmental Sciences Department, the RBRI has sampled water from watersheds throughout the upstate since the late 1990's in an effort to determine the effects of suburban growth on water quality. Studies have examined the effects of wastewater treatment plants on nitrogen levels in streams, the effects of differences in land cover and vegetation type on water quality, and the effects of changes in water quality on the fish and invertebrate communities that inhabit the streams.

In this context, one group of Ecology students decided to study how water chemistry varied between the two feeder creeks to the lake, as one drains a forested area and the other drains the major dorm complex. In addition, they sampled upstream from the dorm complex to determine whether the chemistry of this steam changed as it passed this developed area. Similar investigative projects are routinely conducted as a part of the curriculum.

Furman Lake is also used to irrigate landscaping and provides approximately 60% of irrigation needs for campus.

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

Furman conducts waste audits in the Furman Organic Garden.

Leaves, grass, and other non-woody landscape waste are combined with pre-consumer waste from the dining hall, and resulting compost is used in the organic-practice campus garden. The remaining campus waste, consisting mainly of dead or fallen tree limbs, is collected by a team of Facilities Services staff. The limbs are placed in a limb yard on the far north end of campus, where they are ground into mulch twice a year. This mulch meets a large percentage of the campus mulching need.

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

In the past decade, Furman has used a number of different Low impact Development practices and products on a multitude of projects – both new and renovation. These include: structural grass pavement and gravel pavement, porous concrete pavement, pervious brick pavement (with underdrain filtration), native plants, solar energy, rainwater harvesting and storage for irrigation, salvaging of construction materials and stock piling for future use, low VOC paints and adhesives, bio-retention ponds and surfaces, detention ponds, grass filtration strips, buffers on both sides of Little Creek, and manufactured structures such as catch basin inserts, cyclone separators and offset bay separators. Our Synthetic Turf Football Field catches and slows stormwater runoff, cleans the stormwater of sediment, and does not require the use of nutrients that damage the environment.

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):

Furman has begun experimenting with the use of Holganix (http://www.holganix.com/). With the goal of improving soil health to improve overall plant health, Holganix is now used on all cool season turf (about 20 acres). Trials have indicated that all fungicide applications may be halted, insecticides may be reduced by 30% of active ingredients, and irrigation needs are drastically reduced.

On July 3, 2006, there were 362 waterfowl on the 28 acres of Furman Lake, including 250 Canada geese. By most wildlife estimates, a density of 2 geese/acre is appropriate, 6-times less than our resident population. Through a combination of direct removals by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, publicity campaigns to discourage public feeding of the waterfowl, and habitat change, the Canada geese population is now near appropriate levels. In order to evaluate the impact of the restoration project on Canada geese behavior and nutrient levels in the lake, Ecology students monitor the patterns of habitat use in areas with different vegetation types around the lake and conduct routine water sampling.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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.