Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 58.11
Liaison Elizabeth Drake
Submission Date April 19, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Swarthmore College
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.98 / 2.00 Aurora Winslade
Director of Sustainability
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area (i.e. the total amount of land within the institutional boundary):
425 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 400 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 6.75 Acres
Area managed using conventional landscape management practices (which may include some IPM principles or techniques) 15 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 421.75 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):

All of the College's land is managed to some degree, including rental housing units.

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:

The IPM program utilizes monitoring, developing damage thresholds, utilizing cultural practices as control, reduction or elimination of plants in the collection that are prone to insects and/or diseases, and as a last resort using the least toxic pesticide if damage threshold warrants it.

1. Action thresholds are set by discussions between Director of Grounds and Arboretum Director. High visibility areas around main academic buildings are held to a higher standard than more remote outlying areas. These areas are monitored more frequently.
2.Monitoring is performed monthly on a rotating basis in most high priority areas and less often in lower priority areas. Our goal is to increase the frequency. Staff are always looking during normal gardening activities. We also use phenological and growing degree day information gathered from years of record keeping to help pinpoint pest life cycles. It is very important to know the difference between a pest and a beneficial.
3. We first try to use best cultural practices to encourage healthy pest resistant plants. Proper selection, siting, planting, and maintenance can prevent many problems or reduce their impact.
4.Monitoring and understanding the life cycle of a pest, can help us chose the control method with the least environmental impact. Mechanical, biological, or environmentally sensitive pesticides can usually be used if a problem is caught early.

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 organic areas rely on improving soil health, proper selection of appropriate plants, the use of compost and compost tea, application of organic fertilizers if needed.

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

The Scott Arboretum has adopted a proactive approach to treating invasive or potentially invasive plants in our collections. Consistent with Federal Executive Order #13112 we apply the following to evaluate plants for acquisition and deaccessioning:
* Prevent the introduction of invasive species
* Detect and control such species
* Monitor invasive species
* Educate the public on invasive species

The Arboretum's collections are managed so that plants not appropriate to conditions in this area are eliminated from the collection. This includes invasive exotic plants, plants are are very susceptible to insects and diseases. The collections includes many plants that have existed on site for many years, including a number of trees over 100 years old. While not used exclusively, native plants play a major role in the campus landscape.

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

Storm water management is part of the official Sustainability Framework document developed by the College which dictates high standards of design and site work. The Framework adopted storm water control measures that are higher than what is required by the local Planning Commission. There are numerous underground storm water infiltration systems, a biostream rain garden, landscaped infiltration beds, use of porous paving, 5 green roofs. Restoration efforts are progressing for the Crum Creek and woods for stream bank restoration/protection and restoration of woods areas impacted by construction on utility rights of ways.

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

All of lawn cuttings and green waste is composted on-site at Swarthmore College. The only materials that are hauled from campus and not included in the compost is diseased plant and tree material.

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

Any new building project utilizes landscape architects who must adhere to the College's Sustainability Framework for energy conservation and storm water management.

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):

The Arboretum's collections are developed to use the most insect and disease resistant plants suited to this area that are possible. Adoption of the IPM program in 1990, participation in plant phenology research to predict insect emergence, and the establishment of 5 green roofs helped propel Swarthmore College to a leadership role in Grounds maintenance sustainability. Grounds employees founded and participate in a regional Landscape Management Forum of grounds directors who attempt to utilize sustainable processes in grounds management.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:

Additional documentation to support the submission:

Jeff Jabco,
Director of Grounds,
Coordinator of Horticulture, Scott Arboretum
(610) 328-8294

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.