Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 68.78
Liaison Amber Saxton
Submission Date Sept. 9, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

George Mason University
OP-10: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.21 / 2.00 Danielle Wyman
Outreach and Community Engagement Manager
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures required to calculate the total area of managed grounds::
Total campus area 677 Acres
Footprint of the institution's buildings 52.60 Acres
Area of undeveloped land, excluding any protected areas 255 Acres

Area of managed grounds that is::
Managed in accordance with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Plan 292 Acres
Managed in accordance with a sustainable landscape management program that includes an IPM plan and otherwise meets the criteria outlined 0 Acres
Managed organically, third party certified and/or protected 77.17 Acres

A copy of the IPM plan:

The IPM plan :

George Mason University (Mason) has several vendors that utilize an Integrated Pest Management Plan (IPM) throughout the campuses within its buildings and on its grounds. For Mason's buildings and up to 15 feet of its exterior perimeter, the plan includes education; inspection; exclusion from the interior; client communication; monitoring; sanitation; mechanical and physical control; application of pesticides; quality control; and documentation. Reports are provided four days out of the week with weekly reviews with the vendor's area manager and quarterly reviews with the vendor's regional manager. Mason was inspected by the Virginia Department of Agriculture in March 2011 and no violations were found.

For all turfgrass, ornamental plants and mulched areas, the vendor will inspect, survey and monitor all applicable areas to determine the location, and levels of possible insect and disease infestations. Based on the results of the inspections, the vendor shall notify Mason of the need to apply unscheduled insecticides and fungicides to control insects and diseases which exceed acceptable thresholds and/or may cause damage to, or be detrimental to, plant health. The vendor will recommend the insecticides/ fungicides types, dosage rates, number of applications, and location of areas to be treated to control infestation. The vendor shall not use pesticides that are phytotoxic to the host plants. On occasion, preventative control measures may be required to control potential insect and disease problems considered inevitable due to environmental conditions.

A brief summary of the institution’s approach to sustainable landscape management:

The University strives to utilize the latest sustainable landscaping techniques and practices for both construction of new landscape areas and maintenance of existing landscaped areas.

A brief description of how the institution protects and uses existing vegetation, uses native and ecologically appropriate plants, and controls and manages invasive species:

Within George Mason University's (Mason) North Sector Plan and Design Guidelines on page 63, it states that a majority, with a minimum of 85%, of all new plants will be native or cultivars of native plants. The remainder of the other new plants, no more than 10%, will be non-invasive exotics.

Mason also has a native plant garden on its main campus which is a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat. Mason students installed this garden and Earth Sangha, a local non-profit focused on promoting the spread of local genetic stock native plants, provided the plants for the garden. Each year, this garden hosts a dozen student volunteers and service learners. This area serves as a model educational tool for native vegetation and wildlife on campus.

The University recently created a Reforestation Guidelines document, in 2012, to dictate the required quantities and the correct species that are allowed to be installed for both Fairfax and Prince William campuses. As a result, Mason completed 2 reforestation projects in 2012-2013. Both of these sites include only native trees and shrubs and are currently being maintained to ensure their success. There are at least five other sites across campus that have been identified as potential candidates for reforestation.

A brief description of the institution’s landscape materials management and waste minimization policies and practices:

Mason strives to use reduce, reuse, and recycle its waste as must as possible. For example, any trees or brances that fall onto a roadway or sidewalk are removed, chipped, and returned to the forest to continue their decomposition process. Trees that fall in the forested areas are left in place to provide additional nutrients and habitat for the diversity of plants and animals who reside there. In the fall, leaves are removed from walkways, parking lots, roads, etc and then chipped and placed into a large leaf compost pile. This pile is used throughout the following spring and summer for nutrient-rich organic mulch for trees and other plants across campus. Lastly, all grass is cut and left in place to enrich the existing grass with usable organic matter.

A brief description of the institution’s organic soils management practices:

Each year, multiple layers of wood and leaf mulch are applied to all of Mason’s landscaped plant beds and trees. A large portion of the leaf and wood mulch are both produced and used on campus, thus decreasing the need for outside materials to be shipped in. A compost-tea sprayer is also utilized across the campus to provide plants with an easily-accessible form of nutrients. Fertilizer and pesticide use is kept to an absolute minimum in an effort to protect the land and water resources on our campus. The nutrients left from the decomposing grass clippings make for thick, healthy turf across Mason’s grassy areas.

A brief description of the institution’s use of environmentally preferable materials in landscaping and grounds management:

In addition to the recycled organic materials listed above, Mason aims to minimize managed lawn areas by substituting wildflower and bumblebee havens. The wildflower and bumblebee havens provide an excellent source of food for Mason’s many pollinators while reducing the need to care for and maintain turf grass across the campus. These areas specifically host the hundreds of bees that reside in Mason’s apiaries.

A brief description of how the institution restores and/or maintains the integrity of the natural hydrology of the campus:

Within the past two years Mason has removed two culverts from an intermittent stream on the east side of the Fairfax campus and restored the stream to its original design. Mason has recently reforested three areas, one of which expanded the Resource Protection Area, around Fairfax campus in order to restores these areas back to their original, natural state.

A brief description of how the institution reduces the environmental impacts of snow and ice removal (if applicable):

George Mason University (Mason) follows the protocol of the Virginia Department of Transportation for the removal of snow and ice for the roads. Mason makes an effort to prudently manage the use of salt, sand, and chemicals to effectively remove the snow and ice, in consideration of limited state financial resources. In addition, for sidewalks, Mason uses magnesium chloride which is less corrosive, less abrasive, and less toxic to plant and animal life and surrounding waterways.

A brief description of any certified and/or protected areas:

The Resource Protection Areas and wetlands on our campuses are considered protected areas because development is restricted from those areas.

Is the institution recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation's Tree Campus USA program (if applicable)?:

The website URL where information about the institution’s sustainable landscape management programs and practices is available:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

Data is for FY14.

Information on the campus area is only for the Fairfax campus.

Data is for FY14.

Information on the campus area is only for the Fairfax campus.

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.