Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 72.17
Liaison Chris Frantsvog
Submission Date March 1, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Luther College
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.36 / 2.00 Jay Uthoff
Director of Facilities
Facilities Management
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area (i.e. the total amount of land within the institutional boundary):
979 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 60 Acres
Area managed using conventional landscape management practices (which may include some IPM principles or techniques) 275 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 335 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):

Luther College Grounds does not include the area of buildings, parking lots, sidewalks, and the natural areas. The natural areas encompass an area around campus for educational and recreational use by students, faculty, staff, and visitors.

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:

IPM on Luther's natural areas consists of using the lowest threat herbicides (e.g., glyphosate), using the minimum amount possible, and banning any high threat herbicides (e.g., 2,4-D is not allowed on any Luther lands). Alternatives to herbicides are the first consideration and are discussed below under management of invasive species. In addition, preemptive work is initiated where possible, including fostering native species growth and establishment to compete with weedy or invasive species establishment; and removing known, problematic invasive species when still at low abundances.

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 college rents land to a local farmer who has committed to growing organic corn, hay and small grains in the fields. The fields are certified organic by the farmer each year.

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

In the central campus zone, Luther College uses native plants in its landscaping and on-campus grounds as much as possible.

On the college's natural areas, we have restored or are working to restore Luther's land to the historic native forest, woodland, savanna or prairie ecosystems. The natural areas are managed for invasive species, including buckthorn and garlic mustard. Invasive species are managed with the minimum input of low-impact herbicide (glyphosate) as possible (e.g., treating only cut-stumps for buckthorn) or spot spraying for garlic mustard. Invasive species management is also attained through prescribed fires, manual/mechanical removal, and plantings of native species as replacements.

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

On central campus, one permeable parking lot has been installed, and a rain garden and savanna/prairie planting captures run off from the newly constructed science building (Sampson Hoffland Laboratories).

Luther's natural areas along the river have recently been permanently protected by the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Plan (see description above). The plantings of prairie and forest, along with existing forest along the river improve water retention and sediment capture in the floodplain of the Upper Iowa River. Prairie and forest plantings (not including the EWP or other already forested areas) were initiated to promote natural infiltration and reduce erosion in the 1980s and 1990s (approximately 80 acres).

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

Luther College composts or mulches 100% of its grounds-keeping waste. Grass clippings are composted in a separate pile and take longer to break down. As many of the leaves are mulched in the fall as possible, but some have to be vacuumed up and composted. The leaf pile breaks down more quickly and is usually used in the flower beds within a year. All the branches, tree limbs etc. are piled up throughout the season and once a year we hire a company to come in and grind them up. This is a lower grade of wood mulch than what would normally be used on the landscaped areas on campus but much of it is used on outlying areas. The compost piles are "turned" with a skid-loader every week or two.

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

Sampson Hoffland Laboratories has a partial green roof.

Scandinavian landscape architect, Jens Jensen worked in and around the midwest in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. In 1909, he was asked by the Preus administration to landscape Luther’s evolving campus. In 2015, the six students enrolled in Art in the Nineteenth Century were given the task of creating an exhibit focusing on Jens Jensen’s ideals as manifested in Luther College campus and landscapes pulled from the Fine Art Collection. We used resources such as Jensen’s own writings, Luther’s Fine Arts Collection Archives, and the future campus development plans in order to illustrate the holism of the ideals held by this landscape architect and Luther College. Jensen was ahead of his time in thinking about the living and learning environment, both in physical planning and sustainability. His values are shown throughout campus, especially in such elements as the council rings scattered about and the curving of the sidewalks that connect campus buildings.

Luther has two edible landscapes on central campus. The goals of these edible landscapes are to demonstrate the beauty of diverse vegetables and edible flowers, reconnect people with food plants and inspire visitors to consider including edibles in their own home landscapes. One garden is located between Valders Hall of Science and the Valders Greenhouse and the other can be found between Ylvisaker Hall and Miller/Dieseth Halls.

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):

At Luther we try to remove the snow as soon as possible to prevent snow pack from building up. If the snowfall is light we can brush most of it off with power brooms that attach to two skidloaders and two of our utility tractors. However if the snowfall is too deep for this type of equipment to work effectively we put plows on and blade the snow off. If it is then possible to go back over with the brushes that is what we try to do. In the case of an ice storm or snow and ice buildup on sidewalks we spread an ice melting agent. This consist mainly of sodium chloride (salt) with a varying degree of other additives. The main product we use is called Geomelt. This is salt with a by-product from sugar beets added to it to enhance its effectiveness. It is advertised to be less harsh on vegetation and concrete. Although these strategies are implemented in an attempt to reduce snow and ice damage, Luther's main priority is making the campus as safe as possible for students.


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

Luther college has a central campus that includes all of the central campus buildings, grounds, infrastructure, and surrounding athletic fields. Surrounding central campus, Luther owns and manages restored prairies, forests, woodlands, and savannas. Two additional natural areas (Lionberger Environmental Preserve and Freeport Marsh) are within 10 miles of the main campus. The total of Luther's natural areas (including approximately 60 acres of farmland) equals approximately 750 acres.

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