Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.51
Liaison Aurora Sharrard
Submission Date Feb. 28, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of Pittsburgh
IN-20: Grounds Certification

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 0.50 Samantha Ford
Sustainability Projects Coordinator
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution own and/or manage land that is currently certified under the following programs? (at least one positive response required):
Yes or No
ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation No
Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program (ACSP) No
Bee Campus USA Yes
Demeter Biodynamic No
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Forest Management standard No
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Green List Standard No
National Wildlife Federation’s Certified Wildlife Habitat Program No
An Organic standard or Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) endorsed by IFOAM No
Salmon-Safe No
Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) No
Tree Campus USA (Arbor Day Foundation) No
An equivalent program approved by AASHE No

A brief description of the institution’s third party certified land holdings:

Bee Camus USA - The University of Pittsburgh achieved its first Bee Campus USA certification in June 2020; it applies to our entire Pittsburgh campus. Pitt was among the first five affiliates in Pennsylvania to receive a Bee Campus USA designation.

Learn more: https://www.sustainable.pitt.edu/bee-campus-usa-certification/

Documentation affirming the certification(s):
Website URL where information affirming the certification(s) is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:


The Pitt Sustainability Plan was finalized in January 2018 with the full endorsement of the Chancellor and University. The Plan sets out several goals in the "Landscape & Ecology" impact area, as listed below:

We will cultivate sustainable landscapes that increase biodiversity and enrich all ecosystem services, which are vital to environmental and human health and wellbeing.

• Adhere to Pitt’s Sustainable Landscape Design Guidelines in all new landscape designs.
• Increase tree canopy by 50% and replace 15% of lawn area with indigenous and adapted plants by 2030 (from 2017 baseline).
• Maintain at least 75% of landscaped areas in accordance with Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) Standards for Organic Land Care by 2024.

The University of Pittsburgh recognizes the importance of pollinators. As part of our Pitt Sustainability Plan Landscape & Ecology goals, we are not only working to protect existing pollinators, but to create spaces on campus where pollinator communities can grow and thrive. Our efforts to create pollinator-friendly habitats on campus are led by the Pollinator Habitat Advisory Committee (https://www.sustainable.pitt.edu/pollinator-habitat-advisory-committee/), who in 2020 led the University in obtaining its first Bee Campus USA Designation.

As pollinator-friendly habitats require the use of pesticide-free materials, food sources, water, native plant species, and specific materials for nesting, Pitt’s Campus Pollinator Habitat Plan sets strict guidelines for plant selection and landscaping techniques with these requirements in mind. Pitt’s Sustainable Landscape Design Guidelines outline how the university maintains our campus’s landscape while upholding our commitment to stewardship.

In 2019, Pitt students built 7 bee houses on campus for native solitary bees, getting guidance from pollinator research conducted by Pitt Biology professor Dr. Tia-Lynn Ashman. The use of correct materials and proper sizing are crucial for pollinator health; our bee houses are constructed out of wood, filled with cardboard and bamboo tubes to provide nesting space, and then placed atop 6′ posts.
Learn more: https://www.sustainable.pitt.edu/bee-houses/

The University of Pittsburgh is home to 4 pollinator gardens, whose landscape consists of native plant species including creeping phlox, aromatic aster, and red twig dogwood that attract various types of pollinators. These pollinator gardens exemplify how sustainable initiatives can help improve our environment’s health and reduce resources used for maintenance; they include:

• Falk School Pollinator Garden - On Pitt’s upper campus, Falk’s garden boasts an expansive and unique design that helps our local pollinators thrive.
• Posvar Hall Pollinator Garden - Home to one of Pitt’s 7 bee houses, this garden provides shelter for pollinators as well as a beautiful view.
• Marlie Gardens - Located at O’Hara St. and Parkman, was created as a visible project to bring more native vegetation to our campus.
• SRCC Pollinator Garden

Edible gardens, rain gardens, and green roofs across campus also help with attracting pollinators, stormwater management, mitigating heat island effects, and/or providing food for those in need.

Learn more: https://www.sustainable.pitt.edu/what-pitt-is-doing/pollinators-at-pitt/

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.