In October 2011, students, led by Professors Thomas Roose and Abbie Schrotenboer, collected wildflower seed to later sow in the new basin by the Trinity Athletics and Recreation Complex and at the site of the Rt. 83 athletic fields.
Schrotenboer’s students then planted the seeds, which were germinated in the Heritage Science Center’s greenhouse. This month, a group of professors and other participants, transplanted the wildflowers into the campus basins.
Prairie plants for the drier edges of the basin included wild bergamot, New England aster, and black-eyed susan. Wetland plants for the bottom of the basin where the soil stays moist included swamp milkweed, blue vervain, and swamp rose mallow, said Schrotenboer.
“As part of our stewardship of God’s creation, the basins help us deal with the impact our campus has on the environment and also provide a small space for restoration by bringing native plants and other species back in,” said Schrotenboer.
The wildflower basins were created to deal with storm water runoff, which is filtered by the plants and soil before entering the waterways or groundwater. Native plants increase the diversity of native plant species on campus, which in turn support native insects and birds. Established plants are a relatively low maintenance way of keeping the area vegetated.
Project participants included Dr. Abbie Schrotenboer, assistant professor of biology, and her husband Brad; Dr. Thomas Roose, associate professor of physics and science education; Dr. Lou Sytsma ’65, professor of chemistry; Dr. Laurel Quinn, professor of nursing; and Marci Frederick, director of library, and her husband Paul and daughter Jocelyn.
Such initiatives integrate ecological stewardship into the biology curriculum and also reflect the stewardship efforts of the Campus Ecological Stewardship Advisory Group (CESAG). CESAG’s guiding principles include environmental restoration, sustainability, and education, while their standard practices involve restoring habitats, such as native plants, and sustaining the campus forest.