Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.84
Liaison Kalyna Procyk
Submission Date June 6, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Muhlenberg College
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 2.00 Brett Fulton
Grounds Manager
Plant Operations
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area (i.e. the total amount of land within the institutional boundary):
184 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 184 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 0 Acres
Area managed using conventional landscape management practices (which may include some IPM principles or techniques) 0 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 184 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):

We have 11.2 acres of building footprints, 12 acres of blacktop, and 3 acres of track surface and synthetic turf. We have 102 acres of hillside woods and undeveloped wooded areas. These areas have little to no maintenance occurring in them. They are natural areas, and some act as buffers to neighboring properties.


Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an IPM program:
100

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:
0

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:

Our turf and landscape beds are maintained with a low level of fertilization, and very little synthetic fertilizers. We test and treat soil only as needed. Our lawn clippings and a large portion of our leaves are mulched up and returned to the soil for nutrient replenishment through natural materials.


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

Muhlenberg Campus has worked to preserve the stately, existing trees across campus. We have established a Tree Advisory Committee to walk the Campus several times annually. We consult with several Certified Arborists to review and aid in tree care and maintenance. Trees that are removed are planned and replacements are required. Tree Protection throughout any construction is required and enforced as well. For any new plantings, the use of native plants is always considered and used when appropriate. Regular scouting for invasive plants is used on the entire 75 acres. Any existing invasive plants are managed and replaced with non-invasive species when possible. See: Muhlenberg College Landscape Guidelines

Healthy soil is an essential part of successful landscapes. Proper management of the campus soils is included in our approach to sustainability. At Muhlenberg College, we work to minimize erosion by minimal disturbance during construction, cover crops on bare soil, and water management on surfaces to direct and decrease any erosion. By channeling the water throughout campus, and containing it, we are able to recharge the groundwater in our immediate Campus property. Our turf and landscape beds are maintained with a low level of fertilization, and very little synthetic fertilizers. We test and treat soil only as needed. Our lawn clippings and a large portion of our leaves are mulched up and returned to the soil for nutrient replenishment through natural materials.

Healthy soil is an essential part of successful landscapes. Proper management of the campus soils is included in our approach to sustainability. At Muhlenberg College, we work to minimize erosion by minimal disturbance during construction, cover crops on bare soil, and water management on surfaces to direct and decrease any erosion. By channeling the water throughout campus, and containing it, we are able to recharge the groundwater in our immediate Campus property. Our turf and landscape beds are maintained with a low level of fertilization, and very little synthetic fertilizers. We test and treat soil only as needed. Our lawn clippings and a large portion of our leaves are mulched up and returned to the soil for nutrient replenishment through natural materials.


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

Muhlenberg College has been very proactive in its attempts to reduce water loss and recharge the groundwater. We have some significant Rain Gardens in areas surrounding parking lots that have reduced the amount of surface water lost due to erosion or exiting into the city system. The collection system for a good deal of the south side of campus places the run off in a detention area that is connected to a recharge system. Once the water level reaches a certain height, it automatically pumps the water into piping that then distributes the water across the surface of a natural area to allow it to return to the soil. Any irrigation is monitored closely and not run automatically, but rather adapted to current moisture levels, and turned off if not needed. The irrigation system is serviced regularly to maintain efficiency and effectiveness .These practices, and an awareness of minimizing issues has created a setting that benefits the natural hydrology of the campus land.


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

By managing and creating landscapes, the creation of some landscape waste is going to occur. At Muhlenberg we strive to diminish or at least minimize the waste generated. All grass clippings are mulched up and returned to the soil. Leaves that have fallen are collected by the city and composted, collected by our staff and composted or mulched up and returned to the soil. Landscape materials that are disturbed or removed for construction are re-used in other locations or replaced after completion. As an urban campus, we are limited by space, but are considering in-vessel type composting units to better use the waste material taken. The material taken off- site is through the City of Allentown, and the material goes to their composting site for use by residence, etc.


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

Yes, this aspect of landscape design is considered when making land-use decisions.


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):

How Muhlenberg reduces the environmental impacts of snow and ice removal:
Muhlenberg College implements technologies or strategies to reduce the environmental impacts of snow and ice removal.
Some of the alternatives that are used include Safe Step, calcium, magnesium chloride, and an overall cut down on the amount of rock salt used. We use these products on walkways and steps to minimize rock salt usage.
Muhlenberg College does have a snow and ice removal policy. It prioritizes the areas across campus to use products and time efficiently.
This past season we began using a “ treated” rock salt that enhances the effectiveness of the salt, and thus reduces the amounts needed by 30%-40%. It is a natural by-product of a manufacturing process and is naturally non-corrosive.This means less damage to concrete, parking lots, etc.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The total campus area was taken from the 2015 STARS assessment.
Muhlenberg College students, faculty, and staff have shown a strong commitment to sustainability. The Plant Operations Department, including the Grounds Department actively engage in the stewardship and practices needed in the commitment to sustainability. We pro-actively participate and prioritize conserving resources, managing waste reduction, reduction of water use, and have a long term perspective towards contributing to the impact on Campus. The use of native plant material in plantings has become a priority, and natural planting areas are utilized whenever possible to enhance the habitat. Turf areas are managed at an acceptable, minimal fertilization level, including recycling of grass clippings, returning them to the soil. IPM is being used to monitor, treat, and enhance plants and lawn areas on campus. We are committed to educating our staff on the reasons behind why these things are done, and encourage new, effective solutions to be brought forward. As a group connected directly to the land, we take that charge seriously and plan to continue to expand our practices and policies.

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.