Vision for Sustianable Landscape Design at Wesleyan University sign now

Wesleyan University is dedicated to providing an education in the liberal arts that is characterized by boldness, rigor, and practical idealism."
-Wesleyan's Mission Statement

Extensive lawn cover is disastrous for the environment. Maintaining conventional grass lawns through the use of pesticides, continual mowing, and chemical fertilizers creates serious and well-documented ecological and public health problems. Heavy use of fossil fuels, the release of toxins into our immediate environment, and massive expenditures of water are chief among the practical concerns posed by our current campus landscaping practices.

We can do better. A paradigm that is more aesthetically compelling and ethically sound exists. By shifting to native ground cover, wildflower meadows, and edible plants we stand to make significant reductions in CO2 emissions, detoxify the local environment, and conserve freshwater resources. Fruit and nut trees promote human health and happiness by presenting an abundance of local produce. Wildflower meadows and native species support biodiversity while allowing robust ecological systems to elegantly carry out the functions currently performed by petrochemicals. By moving beyond the ubiquitous application of lawns we free ourselves to develop a more distinct and beautiful landscapeone that is simultaneously educative and productive, one that promotes both justice and sustainability.
Our logic is simple.

Environmental crises like climate change, resource depletion, biodiversity loss, the effects of urban sprawl, and the buildup of toxins in our soil, air, and water threaten the livability of our planet on a fundamental level. The design of our built environment and how we choose to maintain it reflects our values. Therefore, if we value a livable planet we must design our landscape in such a way that privileges environmental sustainability and human health over waste and consumption.

What we do here matters. Our innovative designs will serve as a statement of our values, a sign of an emerging culture of sustainability, an outpost against reckless development, and an exceptional and transferable example for institutions around the world. Upholding Wesleyan's legacy of meaningful engagement requires us to become leaders in sustainable design. This leadership is premised not upon words, but upon tangible implementation of systems that confront pressing global challenges while making our immediate environment more appealing..

Our endeavors will be bold and creative. We will for example organize an annual design charrette that gathers designers and community members on Wesleyans campus to create and share ideas, as well as an annual forum run by both students and faculty devoted to refining and implementing the best of these ideas. Our plans must include all due consideration for meticulous research, immaculate presentation, feasibility of maintenance, and economic realities. These plans will be crafted according to an incremental implementation scheme. If the first phases of this shift prove successful, we will integrate once experimental practices into action across the campus.

By signing below, you are noting your support for this vision, for a thorough exploration of the feasibility of wildflower meadows, native ground cover, and edible plants on the Wesleyan campus. This support reaffirms our identity as an institution characterized by boldness, rigor, and practical idealism"

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Peggy KnoxBy:
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