Volunteers and members of Students For Sustainability planted approximately 600 plants across the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point campus during its annual Earth Day event.
The planting took place on April 24, and volunteers finished in about three hours. Tom Girolamo, owner of Eco-Building and Forestry company, provided the plants that the club payed for. The total cost of the event was just over $10,000, most of which came from a Green Fund award.
A freshman wildlife major said he decided to help with the planting when he noticed people working as he left a class building.
“I’m excited to see these things grow,” he said. “It’s good to see the fruits of one’s labor.”
Abbie Carlson, public relations officer, said members tend the plants on campus year-round, but Earth Week is a good opportunity to take action and be an advocate for sustainability in the community.
“As a student on campus, it can be really hard to make a difference you can see,” Carlson said. “Let’s do something to make the campus better.”
The group strategically planted shrubs, vines, fruit and a half mile of hops throughout campus. Club officers consulted with Girolamo and Chris Brindley, building and grounds superintendent, while selecting areas.
Plants improve campus sustainability by providing food, creating shade and reducing soil erosion. Providing community benefits through landscape design and management is a main component of the sustainability movement and a goal for the club.
Carlson said the club is focused on planting edible and low-maintenance species. Plants requiring little care are desired because fewer staff and resources are used in sustaining them. Facility Services, the department involved in building and grounds, is expected to lose staff if the proposed state budget is approved.
“We’re planting a lot of perennials and low-maintenance things,” Carlson said. “We’re trying to make it easier on the grounds crews.”
Junior Dylan Couch said he joined the club because he was interested in sustainability and gardening. He said the planting is a good way to bring people from different majors together to improve the campus.
“It seems like a lot of people actually care about this,” Couch said. “But I think there is definitely room for improvement.”
Getting support for sustainability-oriented projects can be challenging. Couch said he believes environmental awareness is something people should keep in mind at all times.
“Not everyone shares the same ideas,” Couch said. “I think this event would have the same meaning if it wasn’t held on earth day.”