Sustainability in Action

On Saturday, October 22, approximately 30 student volunteers representing four student organizations joined EHS and other FOD staff to clean and maintain the rain gardens behind Jennings Hall, including weeding, trimming perennials, pruning trees, planting shrubs, and transplanting small Ohio Buckeye tree – all to improve the aesthetics and function of the gardens. Since 2013, these gardens have been maintained by students and student organizations interested in the environment, sustainability, and volunteerism.

These rain gardens were among the first developed for the Columbus campus after the old Botany and Zoology building greenhouses were demolished in 1995. They help filter and slow the runoff from storm events and are a popular form of green infrastructure that has gained in popularity as communities throughout the nation address continued urban growth and the limitations of existing and often outdated sewer piping.  One advantage of green infrastructure is its lower maintenance requirements when compared to other forms of treatment and detention.

Our thanks to representatives from the following student organizations, who worked under supervision of EHS and Department of Molecular Genetics representatives:

  • Buckeye Stream Team
  • Engineers for a Sustainable World 
  • Sierra Club Student Coalition
  • Society of Environmental Engineers

Collectively they helped beautify and maintain an important natural stormwater facility, helping the university meet one of its stormwater permit requirements and satisfy its “Public Involvement and Participation” Best Management Practice (BMP) required in the university’s National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit.

Additional work will occur when the students return for the spring semester. Improvements will include mulching the rain garden plants, weeding, and possibly transplanting plants to further improve the rain gardens’ performance and help prevent the growth of Invasive plants. So watch for more information in the spring!

In addition to the student volunteer and student organizations who participated with this initiative, EHS also thanks Stephen Volkmann, Emily Yoders-Horn, and FOD Landscape Services for their assistance.