Imagine a stretch of campus lawn space, much like any other, nothing out of the ordinary, nothing particularly inspiring. Now imagine that space transformed into a colorful pallet of living beauty, rich in biodiversity and overflowing with nature’s bounty.
Dr. Ruby Beil’s Ecology students established the first Specialty Garden, the Hummingbird Butterfly Habitat Garden, in the spring of 2008 with 50 different plant species designed to attract native pollinators. Support for a green campus led to a much broader initiative, the Landscape Master Plan “A Campus in a Garden.” Led by design professionals at The Collaborative, Inc., from Toledo, Ohio, LCCC’s Board of Directors approved the plan in 2009. Inspired by examples from other colleges and universities where the landscape is recognized as an educational treasure, “A Campus in a Garden” follows these general guidelines for sustainability:
- Increase plant biodiversity
- Reduce maintenance costs
- Reduce LCCC’s carbon footprint
- Improve pedestrian access to campus
- Support opportunities for Service Learning and outdoor education
- Incorporate more Art in the landscape
- Become a model to the Community
Over the past decade, many Service Learning students, dedicated faculty, staff and community partners have all come together to support “A Campus in a Garden”. Service Learning is a method of teaching and learning that engages students in meaningful hands-on service to the community while gaining valuable knowledge and skills that align with course objectives. Service Learning is embedded throughout LCCC’s Sustainable Agriculture curriculum, and students continue to play a vital role in maintaining and improving the Specialty Gardens and natural areas on campus. While many elements of the Landscape Master Plan have yet to be realized, “A Campus in a Garden” currently includes:
- Specialty Gardens maintained by Specialty Gardens Coordinator, Danielle Squire.
- Hummingbird Butterfly Habitat Garden (Habitat Garden)
- Shade Glade
- Robert Callaway Memorial Healing Garden (Healing Garden)
- Children’s Sensory and Culinary Gardens – Early Childhood Education Center
- Native Prairie Demonstration Area – Research area maintained by Physical Plant Services
- Meadow Preserve and Flora Interpretive Trail – Natural habitat established in partnership with the Black River Audubon society and maintained by Physical Plant Services
All gardens and natural areas have a no-spray policy. Students, staff, faculty, and community volunteers are not exposed to lawn chemicals while enjoying and learning in the gardens. The Specialty Gardens Coordinator provides leadership in keeping the gardens aesthetically appealing, ecologically sustainable, and healthy. She coordinates volunteers, work-study, and Service Learning students to assist in the planting and maintenance of the gardens in conjunction with Physical Plant and collaborates with many different partners in the Campus and greater community to design and deliver educational programs in the outdoor environment. Through the combined efforts of people who care and the support of the Science and Math Division and Physical Plant Services, LCCC’s Specialty Gardens are thriving!
The LCCC Specialty Gardens is the common ground at which a diversity of people and nature meet. An outdoor classroom for campus students and a dynamic, breathing playground for community volunteers, the Gardens offer a wide range of opportunities for all to be involved. Every day there is something new for students and community volunteers to enjoy and learn about the gardens. Guests work with Specialty Gardens Coordinator Danielle Squire, an enthusiastic student of Sustainable Agriculture at LCCC and a Master Gardener in training with OSU Extension. Activities include plant production and planting, soil maintenance, raised bed creation, plant maintenance, citizen science, research, artwork, networking, and more!
Learn more about our Sustainable Agriculture program.
Contact Danielle Squire at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about volunteer opportunities and educational workshops in the gardens.