Grounds Initiatives

The initiatives below show our strategies derived from our 2016-2021 Sustainability Action Plan (SAP) and what we have already accomplished. See pages 41-43 in the SAP for more details.

What We're Working On

  • Lawns, Fields, Trees, and Irrigation
      1. Pilot 100% organic lawn care practices on one athletics field test plot
      2. Expand existing no mow landscape areas
      3. Seasonally raise mowing heights (non-athletic) campus-wide
      4. Plant 5–10 (3-inch-diameter or greater) trees annually
      5. Develop a plan to replace gasoline powered equipment with sustainable alternatives
      6. Pilot ice melt variations
      7. Pilot replacement of watered landscapes with native and drought-tolerant plants
      8. Develop rainwater collection standards
      9. Install a water catchment system at Long Lane Farm
      10. Create a campus wide tree map
      11. Identify and install landscaped social spaces and seating
  • Education and Community Spaces
      1. Develop a grounds education program
      2. Promote education for sustainable design and engage students to work on projects on campus
      3. Identify and install landscaped social spaces and seating

What We've Done

  • Lawns, Fields, Trees, and Irrigation
      1. Over the past decade, Wesleyan has drastically reduced its use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers and follows an integrated pest management protocol in its grounds practices.
        • Athletics (some organic): High priorities on player safety, playability, and appearance.  A crabgrass preventative is applied each spring, and fungicides, herbicides, and grub control are used on an as-needed basis.  The grounds crew has experimented with an all-organic fertilizer, which showed mixed results and is currently too expensive.  
        • 100% organic (Foss Hill, the Butterfields complex, west side of Mt. Vernon Avenue, High and Low Rise complex, and Neighborhood Preschools on High and Lawn): no herbicides or pesticides used.  
        • 60% organic (all other lawns and the Rugby field): Four of six yearly applications use 100 percent organic fertilizer, while the other two are 50 percent organic.  The grounds crew uses several herbicides to prevent crabgrass in the spring and on a selective basis to treat broadleaf weeds.  Acelepryn is applied in early summer to treat grubs.
      2. Wesleyan maintains 89 acres of areas that are no-mow, mowed only annually, or left wooded.  
      3. Wesleyan prioritizes the use of native plants in in-ground plantings and avoids planting any invasive species.  There are extensive native plantings at Allbritton, on the former McConaughy Hall site, and at Long Lane.
      4. A successful pilot program increased the grass cutting height to three inches on the west side of North College.
      5. Wesleyan composts or mulches most of its landscape waste, either on-campus (80%) or at the Middletown Transfer Station (20%).  We do not use our own woodchips around trees because of insect and disease concerns.  All elms are sent to the landfill to prevent the spread of Dutch Elm Disease.  All stump grindings are used as compost amendments.
      6. Wesleyan operates a plant dump on the Long Lane property for discarded annuals, which are either collected for replanting or composted. 
      7. Grounds crews' mowers leave grass clippings on the fields and lawn areas for moisture retention. 
      8. Any trees removed on campus are chipped and used in compost or as walkway liners in the West College Courtyard.
      9. Rain sensors on the irrigation system for Usdan University Center prevent irrigation at inappropriate times.
      10. For snow and ice removal, Wesleyan has moved away from using sand and instead uses Magic Salt, which is less corrosive than traditional rock salt.  The Grounds Department continues to investigate less corrosive options.
      11. Stone swales on College Row divert stormwater runoff into storm drains.
  • Education and Community Spaces
      1. Green roofs have been installed at 41 Wyllys and Allbritton.
      2. The student group Working for Intelligent Landscape Design at Wesleyan (WILD Wes) has two permaculture garden locations: a terraced garden and stairs at Summerfields, and a larger garden in the West College courtyard. WILD Wes maintains both sites to remove invasive species and adjust plantings as needed.  
      3. Student group Wild Walls constructed temporary vertical gardens in Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 next to Weshop.  
      4. To increase social spaces, outdoor seating was installed to the east elevation of West College Courtyard and south side of Weshop, including several solar picnic tables, paid in part by the Wesleyan Green Fund.
      5. A pilot stone paver patio, installed in Summer 2015 at the Center for Humanities, will reduce storm runoff.
Grounds Contact
Rob Borman, Grounds Manager
(860) 685-3764