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University of Windsor

Planting on stadium berm a natural fit for university

Allowing the berm around University of Windsor stadium to revert to a naturalized state will be better for the environment, the university's budget, and even worker health and safety, says Grounds Supervisor Garry Moore.

"I don't want my crew to take mowers on this slope," he said Wednesday, as a crew of volunteers from the Student Environmental Coalition joined grounds workers to plant beds of wildflowers along the berm, facing Huron Church Road and College Avenue.

The grass has already grown to knee height; seeds planted Wednesday included native species like asters, coneflowers, milkweed, and prairie grasses. Moore said he selected a mix of plants that will attract beneficial insects, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

"The monarch butterfiles go right through this region as part of their migration," he noted.

Communications major Nicole Unis is president of the Student Environmental Coalition. The group put together a proposal calling on the university to preserve the naturalized area, and enhance the grassy slope with native flower gardens.

She said the student-driven project sends a message that the university supports the protection of biodiversity.

"I was really happy to see that the administration was willing to work with us on this," she said.

In addition to providing habitat for native flora and fauna, she said the new beds will reduce maintenance costs, requiring no mowing, fertilizers, or pesticides, and—once established—no watering.

Unis hopes the naturalized area will complement initiatives by the Green Corrdior Project to raise environmental awareness along one of North America’s busiest international border routes. Similar plantings will soon adorn the EcoHouses on California Avenue.

Stephen Willetts, vice-president administration and finance, expressed his appreciation to the student volunteers and UWindsor President Alan Wildeman for participating in the seeding on the hottest day so far of 2009.

"This was a great collaborative effort and hopefully the seeds that were cast today will bear a successful harvest in the near future and for decades to come," he said.

Sowing their wild oats, alfalfa, and buckwheat: Students, administrators, and grounds crew staffers scatter wildflower seeds in one of the naturalized planting beds cut into the side of the berm around University of Windsor stadium.