On a beautiful sunny morning in May, the Office of Planning, Sustainability and Project Management (PSPM) hosted a hands-on working day on the maintenance of native prairie gardens to brief faculty and staff at UIC on the maintenance of native gardens.
The training was led by the University of Illinois Extension, comprising two master gardeners and U of I Extension educator Nancy Kreith. The Master Gardeners are trained horticultural experts who have volunteered to help us maintain these beautiful pollinator friendly spaces.
Participants included staff from PSPM and Facilities Management (Grounds) and learned the difference between a native plant and a weed. Participants were able to remove unwanted plants in the small meadow on campus and in the newly constructed rain gardens at Arthington Shopping Center.
In accordance with the Solution of the UIC Climate Action Plan (CAIP) 4.3.1, Campus Pollinator Habitat Plan and the UIC Climate Commitments From becoming a biodiversity campus, UIC maintained and installed native plants on campus to expand pollinator habitats on campus. The deep roots of native plants also help the campus meet our Net Zero Water goal of reducing stormwater runoff.
More recently, the university renovated the Arthington Shopping Center with Rain Gardens thanks to the efforts of the Office of Planning, Sustainability, and Project Management (PSPM) and the awards from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF).
The project relied on the objectives of the UIC climate commitments to provide a welcoming and hospitable space that retains rainwater in place and constitutes a perfect habitat for local pollinators, thus helping to increase their populations and global biodiversity. .
The renovation installed over 21,000 square feet of native plant rain gardens with 45 different plant variations and 6,700 total native plants, including pollinator-friendly plants such as black-eyed susans, prairie dock, milkweed, wild hyacinth and eastern red bud. These native plants provide habitat for pollinators and develop optimal growth solely from the amount of precipitation. Eastern bumblebees, green bees, calligraphy flies and monarch butterflies are frequent visitors to the gardens.
More than that, UIC is a recognized Bee Campus USA and in partnership with PSPM’s Sustainability Internship Program (SIP), there are many learning opportunities for UIC student interns to learn more. on native plants and grasslands.
the Campus pollinator habitat plan is a comprehensive plan that serves to educate the UIC community on how to design and maintain a pollinator-friendly landscape. Check out the plan to learn more about pollinators and celebrate National Pollinator Week with us June 21-27, 2021!