Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 55.66
Liaison Marian Brown
Submission Date Feb. 26, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Wells College
OP-10: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 2.00 Marian Brown
Center for Sustainability and the Environment
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures required to calculate the total area of managed grounds::
Total campus area 160.52 Acres
Footprint of the institution's buildings 25.02 Acres
Area of undeveloped land, excluding any protected areas 57.20 Acres

Area of managed grounds that is::
Managed in accordance with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Plan 78.30 Acres
Managed in accordance with a sustainable landscape management program that includes an IPM plan and otherwise meets the criteria outlined 0 Acres
Managed organically, third party certified and/or protected 0 Acres

A copy of the IPM plan:

The IPM plan :

Facilities Grounds uses guidelines for integrated pest management turfgrass as developed by the Penn State Center for Turfgrass Science. Those complete guidelines can be found at: http://plantscience.psu.edu/research/centers/turf/extension/factsheets/itpm-program

The highlights of the PennState Soil Science IPM approach to turfgrass management include:

1. Assessing Site Conditions and Characteristics.
Collection of all site-related information affecting the health of turfgrasses and the degree to which they can withstand pest infestation, including amount of shade present, density of ornamental plantings or other barriers surrounding the turf that may restrict air movement, soil fertility, soil compaction, drainage, the current cultural program, and how the turf is being used (recreational, athletic, aesthetic).

2. Conduct Pest Survey
Determining the identity, location, and populations of turfgrass weeds, insects, and diseases at the site and identifying the environmental conditions and times of the year that certain pests are likely to occur or cause damage.

3. Determining Pest Response Threshold Levels.
Using site and pest assessments, establish the pest response threshold levels for each pest based on aesthetics and the use of the turf.

4. Developing a Monitoring and Record-Keeping Program.
Monitoring techniques include frequent visual inspection of the site to detect early signs of disease activity (e.g. fungal infections) and well as monitoring current and forecast weather conditions to anticipate pest development and damage.

5. The Decision-Making Process.
The decision to implement pest control measures in a turfgrass IPM program involves using and interpreting information from the site assessment, the pest survey, pest response threshold levels, and the monitoring program. When and if a pest becomes a problem, the proper control measures can be selected. Control options can include cultural practices, genetic controls, bio-rationals, and/or pesticide applications.

The decision to implement particular control options depends on several factors. These include the effectiveness of the control procedure, cost of the treatment, size of the area to be treated, availability of labor, availability of equipment necessary to do the job, and reaction of the end user. It is also important to consider any possible side effects that may result from your course of action, such as damage to the turf (phytotoxicity), nontarget effects (bird kills, leaching or runoff of pesticides, or enhancement of other pests), or the possibility that a pest will become resistant to a pesticide.

A brief summary of the institution’s approach to sustainable landscape management:

We plan to develop a sustainable landscape master plan in the near future.

A brief description of how the institution protects and uses existing vegetation, uses native and ecologically appropriate plants, and controls and manages invasive species:

Where possible, the institution protects and maintains existing native vegetation, and replaces native trees and plants with like materials.

With support from student organizations, like the Wells Campus Greens and F.O.R.C.E.S. (Friends of Recreation, Conservation and Environmental Stewardship), the Facilities Grounds group has engaged in invasive species "pulls" on campus, especially focusing on aggressive, non-native invasive plants like Black Swallowwort and garlic mustard. Grounds has collaborated with faculty in the Biology department and to conduct surveys of campus wooded areas to identify and monitor invasive species, like Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA - present in a limited infestation) and Emerald Ash Borer (not yet present). The College also collaborated with professionals from Cayuga County Planning and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cayuga County to allow access for invasive species surveys, particularly focusing on HWA.

A brief description of the institution’s landscape materials management and waste minimization policies and practices:

The College removes leaf litter and other yard waste from campus sidewalks and roadways, and transports such material to another site on campus where it can compost. Some of the collected leaves are used to layer with spent coffee grounds from the student-run GRIND Coffeehouse on campus, in a vermiculture (worm composting) demonstration - the resulting compost will be used on the nearby student garden. Fallen leaves under landscape plants are generally left in place, so they can provide valuable nutrients as they decompose. Facilities Grounds utilizes mowers with mulching blades so leaves and organic debris on mown lawn areas are ground into finer pieces that degrade naturally, providing valuable nutrients and soil enrichment.

A brief description of the institution’s organic soils management practices:

The College does not maintain any significant areas on campus in a certifiable organic manner, although many areas do not receive additional chemical inputs other than natural nutrients.

A brief description of the institution’s use of environmentally preferable materials in landscaping and grounds management:

The campus uses commercially composted manure from a nearby dairy farm for much of its soil amendment work, and purchases regionally produced, double-cut hardwood mulch for use around trees on campus. Currently, cuttings from last year's annual geranium plants used around campus trees are being rooted and overwintered in our campus greenhouse to reduce our need to purchase new landscape plants.

A brief description of how the institution restores and/or maintains the integrity of the natural hydrology of the campus:

There are several streams running through the campus, including two good-sized gorges. These areas are being retained as "no development zones" and are maintained as active riparian buffers for the Cayuga Lake Watershed. Referring back to the invasive species monitoring question, we are closely monitoring the small infestation of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid found in a recent survey, as the affected hemlocks are located in and around one of those large gorge areas. Any loss of those hemlocks would negatively impact their ability to provide stream shading and stream bank integrity.

A brief description of how the institution reduces the environmental impacts of snow and ice removal (if applicable):

The College has switched from rock salt for ice management on sidewalks and campus roads to a more environmentally-friendly magnesium salt formulation that is non-toxic to humans and animals and less damaging to turf and hardscape surfaces (concrete) than sodium salt products, as well as having less of a negative environmental impact on the Cayuga Lake watershed. Snow is generally piled in areas where it will naturally melt and be absorbed into and filtered through soil, rather than run directly off into storm drains.

In light snowfall conditions, sidewalks are cleared either manually with snow shovels or with the use of hand-held leaf blowers, instead of heavy application of snowmelt chemicals.

A brief description of any certified and/or protected areas:

We have no certified or formally protected areas, although much of the campus is located in areas monitored by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as having some threatened plant, bird and animal species.

Is the institution recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation's Tree Campus USA program (if applicable)?:

The website URL where information about the institution’s sustainable landscape management programs and practices is available:

Data on the college's landholdings was pulled from the Cayuga County Real Property website, looking at individually College-owned parcels in the Town of Ledyard and Village of Aurora.

While all campus-owned properties totals over 350 acres, this figure includes a significant number of off-campus rental properties plus a land parcel off Sherwood Road in downtown Aurora under consideration for further development. The College also owns three good-sized parcels currently rented out either for agricultural purposes or to the golf course management operator. Off-campus rental houses are largely maintained by the renters of those properties, so the landscape management of them is not under direct College control.

Thus, for purposes of this landscape management assessment, we are including only the wholly tax-exempt parcels on which campus buildings or off-campus apartments or student residential houses are situated (Mandell, Fairlane, Green House, McGordon).

This revised campus-managed landscape totals 160.52 acres, of which 5 acres are classified as undeveloped (waterfront). 25.03 acres are classified as for primary or secondary use - 0.2 acres for the Leach parking lot - (comprising the campus buildings footprint). The remaining 130.49 acres is classified as "residual" (landscaping/lawn around buildings or the remainder of a larger parcel).

Because about 40% of those two largest "residual" parcels are about 40% undeveloped woodland, we increased the amount of undeveloped land to 57.20 acres.

Of the total refined campus acreage: 160.52 acres

Less undeveloped / woodland 57.20 acres

Less primary/secondary use (building footprint) 25.03 acres

Leaving 78.3 acres managed landscape

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.