Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.09
Liaison Elizabeth Drake
Submission Date March 3, 2023

STARS v2.2

Swarthmore College
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.01 / 2.00 Elizabeth Drake
Director of Sustainability
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area:
373 Acres

Figures required to calculate the total area of managed grounds:
Area (double-counting is not allowed)
Area managed organically, without the use of inorganic fertilizers and chemical pesticides, fungicides and herbicides 4.75 Acres
Area managed in accordance with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program that uses selected chemicals only when needed 368.25 Acres
Area managed using conventional, chemical-based landscape management practices 0 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 373 Acres

A brief description of any land excluded from the area of managed grounds:
The total campus area figure is consistent with the college factbook in that it does not include faculty housing, which is land managed by contractors or individual renters, except for occasional emergency services provided by Swarthmore's Grounds department.

Percentage of grounds managed organically:

A brief description of the organic landscape management program:
Approximately 4 acres of lawn area on the main campus is organically managed, in addition to approximately 0.75 acres that constitute the College's Dean Bond rose garden. We define organic as the avoidance of synthetic chemicals and chemical herbicides/fertilizers/fungicides. Our lawns are cultured via onsite compost tea with cultured nutrient and certified organic fertilizers. Lawns are also maintained at their natural grass height. The rose garden does not use any synthetic pesticides/herbicides/fungicides, with fish hydrolysate sprayed to maintain natural soil health. More disease-resistant roses are grown in order to avoid the use of pesticides.

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 monitoring/scouting 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.

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 and plants that are very susceptible to insects and diseases. The collections include 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, bioswales, landscaped infiltration beds, use of porous paving, 7 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. In 2022, the College completed an extensive renovation on the Upper Crum Swale to significantly increased capacity to channel water coming from the upper part of campus to prevent further erosion in the woods. For landscape irrigation purposes, there is a system to capture and reuse stormwater on an as-need basis.

A brief description of the institution's approach to landscape materials management and waste minimization:
All of lawn cuttings and green waste is composted on-site at Swarthmore College. The only materials that are milled through a third party and not included in the compost are large tree stumps.

A brief description of the institution's approach to energy-efficient landscape design:
Any new building project utilizes landscape architects who must adhere to principles from the College's Sustainability Framework for energy conservation and storm water management, LEED, and SITES. Our asphalt and bluestone material are also locally-sourced and recycled, with efforts to minimize concrete use.

A brief description of other sustainable landscape management practices employed by the institution:
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, the use of organic compost tea and biochar for soil health, the establishment of 7 green roofs, the planting of a 6-acre native wildflower meadow, the active restoration of stream banks via tree plantings, and many more initiatives have 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. In 2022, the College designed and began implementation of a project to convert 2 acres of turf grass to a full sun meadow of native plants. Furthermore, new construction projects will redirect and reduce the college's academic building stormwater run-off into the Crum Creek. This will all adhere to our strict Environmental Sustainability Framework.

Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainable landscape management program is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
Jeff Jabco, Director of Grounds, Coordinator of Horticulture, Scott Arboretum (610) 328-8294 jjabco1@swarthmore.edu

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

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