Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 53.11
Liaison Elizabeth Malcolm
Submission Date Jan. 19, 2023

STARS v2.2

Virginia Wesleyan University
OP-10: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Skyler Lattuca
Horticulturalist
Facilities
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution own or manage land that includes or is adjacent to legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, or regions of conservation importance?:
Yes

A brief description of the legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, and/or regions of conservation importance:

A portion of the land owned by Virginia Wesleyan University is recognized as an old-growth forest and is utilized by the students and faculty for research on biodiversity. This is an area of conservation importance and a priority site for biodiversity as it hosts several endangered species and is capable of sequestering far more carbon than new growth forests.


Has the institution conducted an assessment to identify endangered and vulnerable species (including migratory species) with habitats on land owned or managed by the institution?:
Yes

A list of endangered and vulnerable species with habitats on land owned or managed by the institution, by level of extinction risk:

Eastern Pipistrelle Bat (Perimyotis subflavus) - Vulnerable
Grey Bat (Myotis grisescens) - Vulnerable
Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus) - Endangered
Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris) - Endangered
White Ash (Fraxinus americana) - Critically Endangered


Has the institution conducted an assessment to identify areas of biodiversity importance on land owned or managed by the institution?:
Yes

A brief description of areas of biodiversity importance on land owned or managed by the institution:

As mentioned previously, Virginia Wesleyan University owns roughly 50 acres of old-growth beech forest, which provides habitat for the several vulnerable or endangered species listed. The forest has a few trails that run through it, and is only maintained when debris obstructs the trails after large storms. The campus is also home to 3 acres of native plant gardens that serve as hub for many species that would otherwise not be present on site. Host plants for the Monarch butterfly, Luna moth, and many species of Lepidoptera can be found in these gardens, which also attract native bees, predatory wasps, and many native bird species.


The methodologies used to identify endangered and vulnerable species and/or areas of biodiversity importance and any ongoing assessment and monitoring mechanisms:

The listed species were identified using various methods. The bats were identified through the placement of audio recording devices at various locations around campus, and the use of a software that could single out the calls of each species present. These calls were recorded over a 3 month period from September to November. More information can be found here: https://www.vwu.edu/academics/the-lighthouse/success-stories/batty-for-undergraduate-research.php

The tree species were identified by our on-site horticulturist. The Biology and Environmental Science departments each conduct an annual assessment of biodiversity within the old and new growth beech forests, where sample parcels are selected and evaluated for the diversity of plant species within each quadrat.


A brief description of the scope of the assessment(s):

All of these assessments are sample representatives of the campus as a whole and serves to showcase the species diversity on campus and conservation status of those species.


A brief description of the plans or programs in place to protect or positively affect identified species, habitats, and/or ecosystems:

The old growth beech forest that houses our endangered bat species is used solely for observational research and no future development is planned in this location in order to preserve the forest. It is currently listed on the Council of Independent College's site as a Historic Campus Architecture Project. The tree species identified are maintained by a certified horticulturist and there are plans in place to provide treatment as necessary to the trees through the VA Department of Forestry.


Estimated percentage of areas of biodiversity importance that are also protected areas :
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Website URL where information about the institution’s biodiversity initiatives is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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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.