Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 66.85
Liaison Patrice Langevin
Submission Date Nov. 19, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Pitzer College
OP-10: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.50 / 2.00 Warren Biggins
Sustainability Manager
Robert Redford Conservancy
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures required to calculate the total area of managed grounds::
Total campus area 31.50 Acres
Footprint of the institution's buildings 4.24 Acres
Area of undeveloped land, excluding any protected areas 3.50 Acres

Area of managed grounds that is::
Managed in accordance with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Plan 0 Acres
Managed in accordance with a sustainable landscape management program that includes an IPM plan and otherwise meets the criteria outlined 23.75 Acres
Managed organically, third party certified and/or protected 0 Acres

A copy of the IPM plan:
The IPM plan :

It is the policy of Pitzer College to manage pests on the campus in a manner that protects human health, maintains the integrity of buildings and grounds, and preserves the environment.

Pitzer is committed to the sustainable management of pests through the use of sound Integrated Pest Management (IPM) that focuses on eliminating pest access to food, water and shelter in our campus buildings and grounds. This is accomplished through the use of reduced risk pest control methods with a preference for non-chemical control measures. Decisions concerning whether or not pesticides should be applied in a given situation will be based on a review of all available options. When it is determined that a pesticide must be used in order to meet pest management objectives, the least-hazardous material, adequate for the job, will be chosen. Sanitation, pest exclusion and habitat modification are essential to long-term pest mitigation. Buildings will be regularly cleaned and repaired in order to prevent pest infestations. All facilities and grounds will be maintained to be free of trash, debris and clutter. Ornamental plants, turf and desirable grasses will be managed in a manner that limits animal, plant and microbial pest attraction.

Core components of Pitzer’s IPM include:
-Identify pest species
-Estimate pest populations and compare to established action thresholds
-Conduct a site evaluation and select the most appropriate management strategy
-Assess effectiveness of pest management
-Keep appropriate records

+ Date Revised: Jan. 19, 2016

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

Guidelines for the Pitzer College Landscape

Campus landscaping should reflect our climate and geological setting. Geologically, Pitzer is situated on an alluvial fan at the foot of some of the steepest mountains in the world. Biologically, we are at the intersection of the mountainous chaparral community with the coastal sage scrub of the valley. In a broader sense, we are part of the arid and semi-arid American Southwest that embraces New Mexico, Arizona, and parts of Utah and Nevada, as well as southern California and Baja. Climatically, we live in one example of a "Mediterranean" climate (mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers), which we share with the countries of the Mediterranean rim and parts of southern Africa, Australia, and Chile.
Geographically, we can communicate a sense of place by keeping the campus open to a view of the mountains; geologically, by incorporating granitic boulders, cobbles, and decomposed granite into the built landscape; floristically, by preserving remnants of the natural landscape and by using native plants both individually and in their natural patterns of association.
The notion of "native" plants is not as simple or restrictive as is sometimes assumed; it is more like a multi-dimensional set of concentric circles. For example, there are plants native to the San Antonio Wash; plants native to the alluvial scrub ecosystems of southern California; plants native to southern California generally; plants native to the American Southwest; and plants appropriate to this place because they are native to one or another of the world's climatically "Mediterranean" areas. Examples of things that are not meaningful to do here include installing English gardens, planting rows of eastern trees, and introducing redwoods under the guise of "California natives."

The campus should be designed to conserve water. Although Claremont is not desert (less than ten inches average rainfall), it is semi-arid (sixteen inches average rainfall). It can support endless green lawns and rows of exotic street trees only by taking water from other regions. This long-term situation is punctuated by periodic drought, protests from the water colonies, spasms of water rationing, and rising water prices. Pitzer's landscape needs to move further in the direction of "xeriscape" (landscaping appropriate for dry climates), which involves such things as more efficient irrigation, limitation of water-consumptive turfgrass to areas where it is needed for specific functions (e.g., playing fields), and the user of "drought-tolerant or "water-wise" plant material.
As the new master plan is implemented, there will be more turfgrass (and therefore more water use) because there will be more playing fields. In this situation, we need to choose our varieties of turfgrass wisely, design our irrigation systems carefully, offset the new water use by reducing water use in other parts of the campus (for example, by converting some grassy areas to less water-consumptive vegetation), and explore ways of reusing irrigation water that runs off playing fields and parking lots. In order to monitor and control water use, metering is essential for specific buildings and landscape areas, but until 1991 there was only one water meter for the entire College. Two meters were added as part of the East Mesa project, and this practice needs to continue as new buildings are built and portions of the campus are newly landscaped or altered. In addition, the College should investigate the state of the art with regard to rain gauges and moisture sensors to see if they should be included as an integral part of a water-conserving irrigation system. As for plant material, there is a great overlap (though by no means a complete correspondence) between the xeriscape principle and the principle of using native plants. The general use of xeriscape does not preclude the occasional use of some water-consumptive native plants if these are grouped on separate irrigation lines and do not dominate the landscape. More precise guidelines will need to be developed after the city of Claremont adopts its version of the Model Landscape Ordinance mandated by AB 325, developed by the Department of Water Resources, and currently being adapted for Claremont by former Pitzer student Gerald Taylor.

The campus landscape should be educational. It can communicate a sense of place and demonstrate how people can live more within the limits of their region's resources. It can provide an environment conducive to learning by providing outdoor nooks, both sunny and shady, where members of the College community can read, meditate, write, and converse. It is also possible to display some of the different dimensions of nativity in instructive ways that provide variety and support the College's commitment to intercultural understanding. For example, instead of simply mixing Australian, southern African, and southern Californian plantings, we could have an Australian and/or a southern African garden, perhaps at one or more of the new buildings. A sign and labels, or a brochure, could interpret these gardens to us and to campus visitors. A different garden might focus on Native American uses of southern California plants, while another might highlight introduced plants that had, over time, become "naturalized."
Campus plantings should be interesting and attractive, with attention to shape, texture, and color. More attention should be paid to planting for the long run (e.g., trees that will be magnificent specimens after many years). More attention should be paid to plantings that bloom over the seasons, instead of just in the summer when the main College program is on vacation.

The landscape should help unify the campus, which will increasingly contain buildings of different styles and periods. Unity might be accomplished partly by using certain native plant species as "theme" trees and shrubs in different parts of the campus, especially at points of entrance, exit, and transition. Certain associations of plants might also become a distinctive Pitzer characteristic. In addition, proper landscaping can soften the intrusive mediocrity of some of the older buildings, as through the use of climbing vines on blank walls.

Grounds management should emphasize ecological understanding of soil development and maintenance, biotechnical cycling, species and age diversity, and structural and physiological adaptation of the vegetation. It should shun the practice of planting monocultures of nutrient- and water-demanding, exotic vegetation on nutrient-poor, rapidly-draining soils. Such practices create drought- and pest-prone landscaping, which we then "force" with increased water, fertilizer, and pesticides.

Finally, and equal in importance to the other goals, landscaping should reflect the spirit of the College. This spirit is not expressed by the imperialism of imposing rigid, geometric forms--or alien plant species--upon the natural world, but by a more "naturalistic" style that is informal, diverse, and respectful of natural patterns and native species.

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

The College grounds are predominantly landscaped with drought tolerant plants, including cacti and succulents, as well as native plants.

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

All green waste from campus operations is either composted on campus or picked up by the City of Claremont, where it is composted and used as mulch.

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

Grounds management should emphasize ecological understanding of soil development and maintenance, biotechnical cycling, species and age diversity, and structural and physiological adaptation of the vegetation. It should shun the practice of planting monocultures of nutrient- and water-demanding, exotic vegetation on nutrient-poor, rapidly-draining soils. Such practices create drought- and pest-prone landscaping, which we then "force" with increased water, fertilizer, and pesticides.

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

Our weed abatement programs is predominately removal over pesticides.

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

The Outback Preserve (see below) is identified for native landscaping that incorporates natural hydrology for storm water management.

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

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

The Pitzer College Outback Preserve is a 3.4-acre parcel. It is our intent to preserve and restore the remaining native alluvial scrub once prevalent on the footprint of our campus. Though heavily impacted and disturbed, in this area it represents a unique combination of recovering coastal sage scrub and chaparral plant communities.

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:

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.