The 2009 campus master plan reinforced the value of the forested areas and streams on the 345-acre Reynolda campus. The mature campus forest cover is important for maintaining healthy ecosystems and as flood control.
As a result of campus stormwater management practices developed in the 1950′s, high volumes of untreated storm water have been released into the small tributaries that flow from campus. Downstream erosion, sedimentation, and poor water quality are among the side effects of these outdated practices.
The campus master plan calls for the creation of watershed-based stormwater management strategies and best management practices for campus development.
Tree Care Plan
Students and staff braced against the cold on the Benson Circle to plant a new willow oak in honor of the holiday, a celebration of connectedness.
Shoshanna Goldin, president of Hillel, welcomed guests at the event and Dedee DeLongpre-Johnston, Director of the Office of Sustainability gave an explication of Tu B’Shevat. Nicky Vogt, an intern for the Campus Garden, contributed a poem, and Rabbi Michael Gisser, spoke on the spiritual significance of the gathering and provided context for the holiday within the larger Jewish tradition.
Following the speakers, guests took up shovels and worked together to fill in soil around the tree donated by Landscaping Services.
Wake Forest’s Tu B’Shevat celebration occurred slightly later than the actual January 25th date of the holiday. This delay was an intentional accommodation of students’ schedules, but, as Rabbi Gisser quipped, attendees would have been “blown away” by last Friday’s wind and sleeting rain.
A Shabbat dinner, also hosted by Wake Forest Hillel, followed the outdoor celebration.
By Annabel Lang, Wake Forest Fellow for the Office of Sustianability
This spring Landscaping Services staff implemented an innovative solution to an erosion problem caused by copper runoff from the roof of Winston Hall. Runoff from copper rain gutters and roofs, commonplace across North Carolina, can be a source of soil contamination. The idea is simple. As stormwater washes off the copper roof, small traces of metal are carried along with the water into the soil. Since copper is a recognized biocide, copper-contaminated runoff can kill plants over time, contributing to soil erosion.
Some North Carolina institutions have chosen to scrap their copper gutters and replace them with other metals that leach “less harmful” agents. Landscaping Services Manager David Davis proposed a different solution to the copper runoff problem at Winston Hall: a rain garden.
The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) created the Community Conservation Assistance Program (CCAP) to fund people and institutions with ideas that improve local water quality by reducing stormwater run-off and resultant erosion. Davis used funding from CCAP to subsidize installation of the rain garden. Landscaping Services also purchased recycled concrete aggregate, which was then buried in the path of the water. The copper ions in the water bind to the concrete rubble, effectively removing the contaminant from the water. The concrete aggregate replicates the effects of the many existing concrete storm drains around campus, which remove copper from stormwater runoff.
After laying the concrete aggregate, Davis and his team filled in the area with indigenous plants like Paw-Paw, Spice Bushes, and Black-Eyed Susans to further prevent erosion and take up the clean water.
The native plants in the rain garden also serve as invaluable habitat for migrating Monarch butterflies. The rain garden is now a certified Monarch Waystation.
Since Winston Hall is home to the university’s Biology Department and Environmental Program, this garden will also provide a useful outside laboratory for biology and environmental science students in Winston Hall. Professors from the Biology Department have already expressed interest in mapping the site and charting its growth, as part of their curriculum.
By Joey DeRosa, Communications and Outreach Intern
Was your interest piqued by the Gasland screening? Celebrate Earth Day at Z. Smith Reynolds Library with further discussion of hydraulic fracturing.
Hydraulic Fracturing (“Fracking”) Panel
When: 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Where: Z. Smith Reynolds Library, 4th Floor Auditorium
This year’s Earth Day panel will focus on the complex social, environmental and economic ramifications of hydrofracturing (“fracking”), a process of extracting natural gases from bedrock by fracturing the rock with high pressure fluid. Discussion panelists include:
- Nathan Atkinson– Mr. Atkinson is a defense attorney with Spilman Thomas and Battle. He will draw on his experience litigating complex multi-party lawsuits involving drilling, hydraulic fracturing, water contamination and toxic torts arising from exposure to various chemicals and naturally occurring elements.
- Dick Schneider, J.D. – Mr. Schneider is a professor of environmental and international business law at the WFU School of Law. He serves on the Environmental Committee of the North Carolina State Bar Association.
- Dr. Lucas Johnston – WFU Departments of Religion and Environmental Studies – Dr. Johnston is trained in sustainability studies and environmental and religious ethics. He teaches a course in the Environmental Studies program on energy policy and sustainability.
- Moderator: Dedee DeLongpré Johnston, Sustainability Director, WFU
This panel discussion is free and open to the public.
Join Z. Smith Reynolds Library and the Office of Sustainability for a free screening of the film, Gasland. Explore the controversial world of hyrdrofracturing (fracking) for natural gas in preparation for the panel discussion on April 25.
When: 6:00 p.m.
Where: Z. Smith Reynolds Library, 4th Floor Auditorium
This screening is free and open to the public.
From the Gasland web site: “The largest domestic natural gas drilling boom in history has swept across the United States. The Halliburton-developed drilling technology of “fracking” or hydraulic fracturing has unlocked a “Saudia Arabia of natural gas” just beneath us. But is fracking safe? When filmmaker Josh Fox is asked to lease his land for drilling, he embarks on a cross-country odyssey uncovering a trail of secrets, lies and contamination. A recently drilled nearby Pennsylvania town reports that residents are able to light their drinking water on fire. This is just one of the many absurd and astonishing revelations of a new country called GASLAND. Part verite travelogue, part expose, part mystery, part bluegrass banjo meltdown, part showdown.”
Join prominent university community members for an historic event honoring our campus trees. Years of hard work and dedication from Landscaping Services staff have resulted in national recognition for the university.
Then grab a group of friends and sign-up to participate in the Cardboard Boat Race. You have all weekend to craft a vessel that will make it from one end of the Reynolds Gym pool and back (twice!). The boat judging and races will be held Sunday, April 22.
2nd Annual Arbor Day Celebration
When: 4:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Where: Courtyard between Babcock and Johnson, near the volleyball courts
Landscaping Services, the Office of Sustainability, and Residence Life and Housing invite you to join us for Wake Forest’s second annual Arbor Day Celebration. Two trees will be planted in honor of the occasion and we will hear from several prominent members of the university community about the important role of trees on our campus.
Following the planting ceremony, guests are encouraged to enjoy refreshments courtesy of Residence Life and Housing.
Cardboard Boat Race: Materials pick-up
When: 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Where: The Office of Sustainability (Reynolda 101)
Gather a few friends and sign-up anytime today for the Cardboard Boat Race. Read the full rules and register here, then pick up free cardboard and 2 rolls of duct tape, courtesy of Campus Recreation. You may purchase extra duct tape, but keep in mind that you cannot use any other materials for your boat! You have until Sunday at 1 p.m. to build a pool-worthy vessel.
Questions? Contact Jessica Finnerty, Assistant Director of Campus Recreation, Aquatics, (336) 758-3490 or
The Office of Sustainability, Landscaping Services and Wake Forest Hillel joined together to celebrate Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish New Year of Trees. On February 10, students and staff members gathered to plant a willow oak tree on a green patch of earth in the loop between Reynolda Hall and Reynolds Gym. In addition to their efforts on campus, Wake Forest Hillel also sponsored the planting of three trees in Israel as part of the celebration.
“Tu B’Shevat may be a lesser known Jewish holiday, but it’s one of my favorites,” freshman Shoshanna Goldin, Wake Forest Hillel Social Action Co-Chair, remarked. “It combines Tikuun Olam, the Hebrew term for ‘Healing the world,’ with a celebration of life and nature. Tu B’Shevat focuses on appreciating the little things in nature that we otherwise might miss – the budding flowers on a tree, the perfect apple, the smell of rain.”
Carrie Stokes, campus garden intern in the Office of Sustainability offered a moment of reflection at the celebration during her recitation of “Stream of Life” by Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore. “I found that this poem not only stressed the interconnectedness between all members of the university, but also our ties to the earth which sustain our lives.”
Wake Forest Hillel also paid homage to the earth by putting a vegetarian twist on their regular biweekly Shabbat Dinner. Many members of the sustainability office joined in, breaking challah, with members of Hillel to commemorate the successful planting of the willow oak.
This event is only the first of many to come in a fruitful partnership between sustainability and Hillel. Both groups look forward to the planting of an apple and fig tree in the campus garden this spring. “I think both of our organizations have a vested interest in making this campus, this town, and our world a healthier, happier place to live,” junior Chelsea Eversmann, Wake Forest Hillel Social Action Co-Chair, said.
By Joey DeRosa, Communications and Outreach Intern
Q. Is organic waste from campus composted?
A. Yes and no. One hundred percent of campus yard waste, including lawn clippings and fallen tree limbs, is repurposed as mulch or organic soil amendments.
In the fall of 2011, Wake Forest Dining Services performed a waste audit to see just how much waste is generated on a standard day in the Fresh Food Company. The results of this audit informed an ongoing pre-consumer waste composting pilot in the Reynolda Fresh Food Company. The pilot has been successful so far and has helped ARAMARK management and employees see how they can minimize waste in food prep as well as how it can be composted successfully. As of the beginning of February, all pre-consumer food waste from the Fresh Food Company is being picked up and taken to Gallins Family Farm for composting. This has kept hundreds of pounds of food waste out of the landfill every week.
The ultimate goal is to capture post-consumer food waste in the Fresh Food Company dish room as well. While the materials handling equation is worked out (it’s tough to get all that wet waste out to the loading dock for removal), it’s important for you to do your part to keep food waste to a minimum. Take only what you will eat and eat everything you take when eating at this “all-you-care-to-eat” establishment.
Food waste from the theme houses on Polo Road and from the Campus Kitchen Fresh Market runs is composted at the campus garden (behind 1141 Polo Road).
We’ll be sure to keep you updated as the composting program grows and evolves.
“I just try to leave a place better than I found it – I try to make a difference,” Athletics Turf Manager, Abby McNeal said. In McNeal’s case, that means making the world a little greener, in more ways than one.
McNeal manages all of the athletic fields on campus as well as BB&T field. She maintains the lush, green turf that stands up to a beating game day after game day from the scorching heat of August until the first freezes in November. She tends to the special needs of the artificial playing surfaces too in order to keep them safe, sanitary and professional looking.
When asked how the soft-spoken red-head became involved in turf management – she smiles. There is no good story here, she confesses. “I chose to study turf management more than 20 years ago. I found a passion and I stuck with it. That’s it.”
As if her official job – which often keeps her on campus from 7 a.m. until far into the evening (and on weekend game days too) – were not enough, when the opportunity to jumpstart the university’s Game Day Recycling program presented itself to McNeal, she jumped at it. “I preach a lot of customer service and this is just an extension of that service,” she said.
Not only do her customers – Demon Deacon and rival team fans alike – enjoy the opportunity to recycle, but her team has started to feel a sense of pride and ownership, she said.
When she’s not working on an athletics Green Team initiative, brainstorming ways to expand Game Day Recycling or caring for turf, McNeal carries her personal commitment to sustainability home to her 3-year-old twins. “If we can reuse something, we reuse it; if we can recycle something, we recycle it. It’s simple,” she said. “My twins fight over the chance to recycle at home, they love helping out with the recycling.”
To McNeal, excitement about recycling is a first step to incorporating sustainability more broadly into daily life. “Make sure that you understand that sustainability is more than just recycling. Then think simply about your life. There are always ways that you can do things even simpler than you are. The simpler something is, the more routine it will be. When something is routine, it becomes the norm. There are so many ways to make sustainability the norm.”
By Caitlin Brooks-Edwards, Wake Forest Fellow
As a part of the 13 Days of Celebrating the Earth, Landscaping Services, the Office of Sustainability and Residence Life & Housing hosted the university’s first-ever Arbor Day Celebration at 4 p.m. April 15. Attendees gathered on this warm, bright afternoon in the newly renovated outdoor area outside of North Campus Apartments Building 1. Miles Silman, associate professor of biology and director of Wake Forest’s Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability, opened the ceremony.
Want to learn more about the university’s trees?