The Centre College native plant garden, located on the east side of the front entrance of Young Hall, is the fulfillment of a long-held dream of Professor of Biology Anne Lubbers to create a valuable teaching tool for her botany students that is also known for its beauty and environmental impact.
The native plant garden, part of Centre’s ongoing commitment to environmentally responsible practices, is thriving. Since planting the garden, Lubbers has been able to add stepping stones, a sign at the entrance to the garden, and signs identifying the plants, making it a sanctuary for humans and non-humans alike.
“I can use it for teaching,” Lubbers says, “but I think my primary goal is to show people that you can plant a larger variety on campus as beautification, and at the same time, offer habitat for other species. I want people to get used to having different things that flower at different times with different colors. I want them to be able to come in and see the pollenators visiting, our hummingbirds and bees.”
Funding for the project was secured during a campus sustainability workshop in 2014, where faculty and staff, and a few students who were on campus for the summer, were given the opportunity to learn and share ideas about creating a more sustainable environment on Centre’s campus and the surrounding community. The three-day workshops, the second of which was held in 2015, were supported by a cooperative agreement from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Interdisciplinary Environmental Sustainability Across All Curricula program (FEIN 00D06912-0).
During the 2014 workshop, it was announced that the Environmental Protection Agency would provide funding for individuals or groups interested in working on their own campus sustainability projects. Lubbers used this funding, and time during a sabbatical, to begin planting native Kentucky plants next to Young with the help of Sara Beth Freytag ’14 and Sarah Wolf ’14.
Lubbers’ desires for the future of the garden are to add more variety and to see more people and groups on campus get involved with the ongoing development and upkeep of this beautiful little oasis.
“I’m hoping to bring in more plants and that some of the existing plants will seed in,” she explains. “I definitely don’t see this as finished. This is something that will continue to develop, and there’s a lot of work to be done.”
As a charter signatory of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), Centre is committed to reporting its carbon emissions levels annually and to achieving zero emissions by the year 2040. This includes a broad range of ongoing initiatives, including recycling and energy reduction initiatives, greenhouse gas mitigation policies and programs, and construction projects that result in beautifully functional, environmentally friendly buildings.
by Cindy Long
September 15, 2015