Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 66.70
Liaison David Gibson
Submission Date March 30, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Hampshire College
OP-10: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Todd Holland
Projects and Operations Manager
Facilities & Grounds
"---" 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, and/or regions of conservation importance?:

A brief description of the legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, and/or regions of conservation importance:
A 46-acre parcel owned by Hampshire College, adjacent to the Mount Holyoke Range State Park, was put into permanent conservation restriction (finalized summer 2015). This was in partnership with the Kestrel Land Trust, Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs, and the Town of Hadley.

The protected land is behind the Hampshire College Facilities and Grounds Department. It will serve as a resource for outdoor education and research as well as offering public access to designated trails for hiking and mountain biking. The preserved area protects scenic and natural assets for the community as well as serving research and study purposes.

Under the agreement, Kestrel Land Trust and the Town of Hadley Conservation Commission will jointly hold the conservation restriction (CR) permanently protecting the property. The Conservation Fund provided Kestrel Land Trust with bridge financing for the project.

The property includes a variety of habitat types, including upland forest, early successional woodland and thicket, open field, forested wetland, wet meadow, pond, and perennial and intermittent streams, including portions of Harts Brook. A six-acre hay-field at the east end is designated for agricultural activities. Together, these habitat resources are recognized for high ecological integrity based on the University of Massachusetts Conservation Analysis Priorities System and as critical natural landscape in the Massachusetts Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program

Has the institution conducted an assessment or assessments to identify endangered and vulnerable species (including migratory species) with habitats on institution-owned or –managed land?:

Has the institution conducted an assessment or assessments to identify environmentally sensitive areas on institution-owned or –managed land?:

The methodologies used to identify endangered and vulnerable species and/or environmentally sensitive areas (including most recent year assessed) and any ongoing assessment and monitoring mechanisms:
Implementation Steps for converting mowed lawns to meadow-land habitat:
-Identify potential parcels for conversion (and identify which areas may be kept as manicured lawns)
-Identify current and past land uses of parcels
-Inventory current land cover and species present (plant, animal, microbes) on each parcel
-Classify soil properties (type, organic content, microbe populations, nutrient levels, etc.)
-Identify and prioritize species to be supported/enhanced (e.g. birds, grasses, microbes)
-Design test plots and experiments for at converted parcels to monitor changes in species diversity, soil properties, etc.
-Develop plans to educate community on benefits of habitat conversions
-Create and implement plans to involve Hampshire and broader community in decision process
-Interface with Hitchcock Center for the Environment to align mutual land use goals
-Create detailed long-term maintenance plans for each converted parcel
-Create specific plans for converting specific parcels to desired habitats
-Finalize the Plan for conversion of lands from manicured lawns to habitat areas

A brief description of identified species, habitats and/or environmentally sensitive areas:
The meadow-lands serve as breeding grounds for many species of birds, like the Vester Sparrow, Wood Turtle, and Eastern Box Turtle. Native plants, some of which are also on the state threatened or endangered lists, will be able to thrive in the new habitat as well.

A brief description of plans or programs in place to protect or positively affect identified species, habitats and/or environmentally sensitive areas:
1. Much of the 800-acre campus remains forested. Part of the campus is adjacent to the 3000-acre Holyoke Range, which is managed by the MA Department of Conservation and Recreation.

2. On the Hampshire College Farm, a 0.3 acre field is managed as a meadow for pollinators and beneficial insects. Hedgerows between vegetable fields and an irrigation pond also serve as wildlife habitat on the farm.

3. 15 acres on campus has been converted from mowed lawn to actively managed meadow-land habitat. Mowing and haying schedules have been modified to minimize detrimental effects on turtle populations.

4. Two large ground-mount solar arrays have been designed from the outset to restore 18 acres of active hay-field into a habitat friendly to pollinators, birds, and microfauna (bugs). Students and faculty are already performing short and long term research on restorative land management, quantifying soil quality, and counting species.

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.