Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 84.41
Liaison Patrick McKee
Submission Date March 26, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Connecticut
IN-26: Innovation C

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Richard Miller
Director
Office of Environmental Policy
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Hillside Environmental Education Park Trail and Sign Revitalization Project

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

Beginning in fall 2017, students in the EcoHouse Service Learning Course collaborated with volunteers from the EcoHusky student group and Office of Environmental Policy to revitalize the Hillside Environmental Education Park (HEEP) trail system. The group cleared overgrown trails, removed invasive species, and gave the trails new markings over the course of a number of service days throughout the semester. The students in the service learning course also conducted research about the park and its history to develop new interpretative trail signs to educate the community about the Park’s land use and biodiversity.

New trail signs include detailed descriptions and visuals of the following topics:
- Mammals found in the HEEP, such as the Long-tailed weasel and Eastern Coyote
- Reptiles and amphibians found in the HEEP, including the Red-backed Salamander and Wood Frog
- Making roadways safe for wildlife, through the use of cape cod curbing, wildlife underpasses, reduced salt zoning, and directed streetlights
- Cycles of nature within the HEEP
- Stone walls and their history
- Vernal pools and their functions
- The Willimantic River watershed and its functions
- Descriptions of vegetation, such as Autumn Olive, Japanese Barberry, Jerusalem Artichoke, and Common Reed

Moreover, a HEEP Dedication Ceremony involving University Administration, faculty, staff, and students will be held in April 2018. Together, this innovative project and interdepartmental involvement underscore the benefits of living laboratories and service learning, as well as the great influence undergraduate researchers can have on large campus initiatives.


Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Curriculum
Campus Engagement
Grounds

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :
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The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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