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Campus Green Space: Just in Time

Campus Green Space: Just in Time

Posted: July 10, 2012

In 2009, construction began on both the new Student Apartment Complex and the new Science and Mathematics Complex, and the Technology Building was in the planning stages. Steve Vermette, professor of geography and planning, proposed carving out a green space on campus. Working with Terry Harding, the director of Campus Services, such a space was identified along Iroquois Drive, near Lot Y.

"I believe we were just in time," said Vermette. "This was the last usable green space on the campus, which is quickly filling in with new buildings." The fenced-off space is being allowed to naturalize; no mowing will take place. It has a power outlet, enabling digital data collection.

"While there is always the option to take field experiments off campus," said Vermette, "a secure green space on campus allows students and faculty to have convenient and secure access for field experiments."

Wayne Gall, an entomologist with the New York State Department of Health and adjunct assistant professor of biology, agrees that an on-campus green space is very useful. Gall teaches an insect biodiversity course that includes insect collecting. "Student must check traps at least every other day," he said, "and it’s often better to check daily, so a convenient location is essential."

Other ideas for use of the green space include use of an evaporation pan for a hydrology course; the study of plant succession for an introductory biology course; and a place for pre-service teachers to try outdoor experiments. "An automated weather station has already been installed," said Vermette, "along with an automated rain gage that’s associated with research on the campus storm sewers and the retention ponds."

Vermette, who welcomes any questions, said, "We hope more users will take advantage of this space in the fall 2012 semester."

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