Leave the Leaves

Written by Office of Sustainability student associate, Faith Phillips, Class of 2024. The foliage in autumn is one of the most exciting aspects of the season but after a few weeks, the leaves can become a nuisance in the lawn. Unknown to most people, however, many insects and invertebrates rely on fallen leaves for protection […]

WashU Grounds Team Practices Sustainability

Written by Communications Associate, Jarea Fang Groundskeeping is a year-round task. From raking leaves in the fall, watering lawns in the summer, to plowing sidewalks during winter, WashU Grounds Services and service contractor, Focal Pointe Outdoor Solutions, have their hands full. Spring is an especially beautiful time of year around campus. With daffodils, cherry blossoms, […]

Invasive Honeysuckle: Not so Sweet

This article was written by Jarea Fang, a Communications & Marketing intern at OOS. Along with several other students and staff, they participated in the ESCC Internship’s Spring 2022 volunteering activity, a honeysuckle removal event at Tyson Research Center.   Bush honeysuckle, also known as Amur honeysuckle, is one of the most destructive invasive species in […]

Demystifying Sprinkler Usage at WashU

By Jarea Fang  The grass is greener where you water it, and that is certainly true of WashU. Danforth Campus, which is known for its park-like landscape and plots of green, uses irrigation to water about two-thirds of its green space. Every year irrigation becomes a familiar sight to WashU eyes, and passersby have long learned to swerve in their […]

Magnolia Allee Replaces Invasive Monoculture

If you have been exploring the flowering trees coming to life across campus, delighting in the rich smells, colors and textures, you may have noticed one corridor that is conspicuously absent. The path between the DUC and Simon Hall has brightened many springs with the dense white clusters of Bradford pear blossoms, lining a favorite […]

Electric or Gas Leaf Blowers…Neither?

As we transition into autumn, leaves will soon begin to fall and scatter throughout lawns and streets. How will you manage your leaves this fall? Selecting the right equipment and strategies can minimize environmental impact.

Virtual Campus Sustainability Tour Includes Award-Winning East End Project

At a time when virtual experiences must often replace in-person ones, we are pleased to announce significant updates to the virtual Danforth Campus Sustainability Tour that was unveiled a couple years ago.  The interactive GIS map-based tour now features 24 stops, starting with the new grand entrance to the Danforth Campus, the award-winning East End […]

Midwest Climate Summit Kicks Off October 2

If the 12 states that comprise the Midwest were a country, they would be the fifth-largest greenhouse gas-emitting nation on the planet. On average, Midwest states lag behind the rest of the country on energy efficiency, de-carbonization of the electric sector, transportation electrification and green building. At the same time, the Midwest is home to […]

Medical Campus Expands Native and Adaptive Landscapes

As part of an effort to upgrade its campus entrances, the WashU Medical School conducted a major landscape transformation within the two large triangle areas associated with the new “Washington University Medical Campus” signage near the 64-40/Kingshighway interchange. Since its completion in the fall of 2019, the project, which consisted of the replacement of turf […]

Burning Kumquat Garden Thrives While Students Away

The mission of Burning Kumquat, a student-run organic garden at Washington University in St. Louis, is “sharing the joy of freshly picked vegetables with the world.” While the “world” — with the closure of campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic — has gotten smaller, the mission has not, thanks to faculty fellows and their families. When […]

City Nature Challenge: Biodiversity Documenting Spree

The 2020 City Nature Challenge invites cities around the world to document their local biodiversity, embracing the collaborative aspect of sharing nature observations with a digital community and celebrating the healing power of nature. This bioblitz-style event engages citizens in a biodiversity documenting spree from April 24-27. The aim of the international project is to […]

Green Event Resources Expand to Include Flowers

Most people don’t realize that the floral industry generates many of the same environmental and social concerns as the food industry. Concepts such as local sourcing; waste reduction through reuse, composting and recycling; avoiding pesticides and chemicals; and fair compensation and safe conditions for workers – all of which have been embraced in responsible food […]

Celebrating 10 Years of Excellence in Caring for our Campus Trees

Since 2010, WashU has proudly carried the recognition of “Tree Campus USA” for its commitment to promote healthy trees and generate excitement for the campus canopy. Trees provide a number of invaluable services, including sequestering carbon from the air, reducing the urban heat island effect, providing habitat for native species and food for pollinators, and, […]

GDA-Certified Whittemore House Upgrades with a Vegetable Garden

In late 2017, the Whittemore House earned certification with the Green Dining Alliance, receiving a 5-star award for its “exemplary understanding and performance of sustainable practices.” In addition to recognizing restaurants for their sustainability efforts, the Green Dining Alliance (GDA) encourages and facilitates steady progress toward low-impact practices and efficient use of resources. Audits are conducted […]

Saving the Pangolins: Why Biodiversity Matters

On June 27th, the Energy, Environment, and Sustainability summer associates spent the afternoon at the Tyson Research Center, visiting its famous Living Learning Center and attending “Behind the Scenes of ‘Poached’”, a lecture by guest speaker Rachel Nuwer, author of Poached: Inside the Dark World of Wildlife Trafficking. The talk was part of a summer-long […]

Get Involved this Summer with On-Campus Farm Burning Kumquat

The Burning Kumquat is the on-campus, student run, organic garden located right next door to the Alumni House on the South 40. During the school year, the farm functions as a student club involving members pitching in at workdays and selling produce at DUC markets. But in the summer, when most students are gone and […]

The Not-So-Sweet Story of Honeysuckle in St. Louis

Honeysuckle evokes for many fond summer memories of plucking small, white flowers off the vine and guzzling their sweet nectar. However, for others, honeysuckle represents a terror to our native ecosystems. In this enlightening article, Hanna Peterman, senior majoring in Environmental Biology and Spanish and student coordinator of the Tyson Conservation Corps, explains how honeysuckle […]

City Nature Challenge: Biodiversity Documenting Spree

The City Nature Challenge invites cities around the world to compete to see who can make the most observations of nature, find the most species, and engage the most people in the 2019 Challenge! This bioblitz-style event engages citizens in a biodiversity documenting spree from April 26-29. The aim of the international project is to engage the public […]

De-icing Solutions at WUSM

Last fall, WashU and the St. Louis Higher Education Sustainability Consortium (HESC) hosted a Brining Workshop to bring together authorities from the St. Louis region to discuss the use of road salt during snow and ice events. The workshop featured speakers from the St. Louis Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) and a Biologist from SLU to […]

Native Planting at Greenway Apartments Enhances Natural Habitats

Last fall, the landscape surrounding the WashU-owned Greenway Apartments was not looking too great. Vast openings of mulch was the only thing left after the decline and removal of most ornamental plants, most likely due to the maturing maple trees shading out the sun-loving plants underneath. Witnessing this degradation, the WashU ResLife and Facilities departments […]

A Garden to Unite the Restorative Justice Movement Center’s Community

Noah Offenkrantz is a junior majoring in Global Health and the Environment. Enrolling in the Environmental Studies community internship program last fall, he had the chance to work directly with the Restorative Justice Movement Center (RJMC) on the creation of a garden for the Center’s community. The RJMC is a non-profit organization in North St. Louis […]

WU Beekeepers – A Student Group Revitalized

Back after a period of dormancy, the WU Beekeepers are abuzz with activity once again. Sophomore Kane Koubsky re-started the club last spring, and now leads alongside sophomore treasurer Lucas Dionisopoulos. Koubksy, the club president, started beekeeping the summer before college and came to WashU with the goal of revitalizing the club and sharing his […]

Join the Tree Campus USA Advisory Committee

The Tree Campus USA Advisory Committee is recruiting; a great volunteer service opportunity for WashU students who love our campus trees. Context Since 2010, WashU is certified Tree Campus USA in recognition to its commitment to encouraging students and university personnel to care for our planet’s tree resources. Tree Campus USA is an initiative through […]

The Restorative Power of Ginkgo Leaves

Hannah Richter is a lover of trees. She is also the author of an op-ed about keeping the fallen gingko leaves on our campus grounds. This golden carpet, as she writes, “provides the students of this university with joy, with rapture, and with a moment of pause in the daily torrent of academic work.” Focal […]

New Resources Unveiled to Honor Danforth Campus Trees

Fall is officially here, and what better way to celebrate than with events and resources that honor and acknowledge WashU’s magnificent trees? This fall, WashU is pleased to unveil trees.wustl.edu, a new website that catalogs and highlights trees of merit across the Danforth campus. The website will continue to grow as additional trees are selected […]

Mind the Lights for Bird Migration

[A flock of birds flies past the Gateway Arch – Photo Credit: Jeff Roberson/AP] St. Louis on the Bird Migration Route Many species of animals migrate during the fall and spring seasons, but one of the most prominent migrations in North America is that of birds and butterflies. Seeking a better climate, seasonal food sources, and […]

Turning Over a New Leaf: Leaf Blowers and Lawn Mowers

As we transition into autumn, leaves will soon begin to fall and scatter throughout lawns and streets. How will you manage your leaves this fall? Selecting the right equipment and strategies can minimize environmental impact. Lawn Care Equipment Can Emit Toxic Gases Gas powered leaf blowers and lawn mowers are more detrimental than you would […]

WashU Earns National Recognition for Sustainability Efforts

Washington University in St. Louis is being recognized nationally for its institution-wide sustainability efforts: the school recently earned a gold STARS rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). STARS (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System) measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education. The university also landed in […]

Summer Blooms in Hope Plaza

If you haven’t walked through Hope Plaza recently, now is the time! The native garden beds are currently sporting their summer best with a variety of bold and subtle floral displays. The WUSM landscape design and maintenance crew focuses on planting native plants where possible because of the reduced irrigation needs and the benefits to […]

Rediscover the Danforth Campus Through a Sustainability Lens

With input from a variety of campus collaborators, the Office of Sustainability is releasing an interactive, multimedia, GIS map-based Sustainability Tour of Washington University’s Danforth Campus. The tour features eighteen locations that showcase WashU’s efforts to transform our historic campus into a truly sustainable campus. These locations make up a small sample of the variety of ways by which WashU is fully committed to […]

Irene Compadre, Landscape Architect

L. Irene Compadre graduated two times from WashU: in 2008, with a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture that she completed after studying a combination of architecture and sculpture, and in 2012, with a Master of Landscape Architecture. Today, in addition to working as an adjunct faculty at the Sam Fox School of Visual Arts, she is the founding principal of Arbolope Studio […]

Summer Garden Membership at the On-Campus Burning Kumquat

The Burning Kumquat is the on-campus, student run, organic garden located right next door to the Alumni House on the South 40. During the school year, the farm functions as a student club involving members pitching in at workdays and selling produce at DUC markets. But in the summer, when most students are gone and […]

Tapping for Sugar Maple Sap on Campus

As you walk up Wallace Drive from the South 40, there is a peculiar sight tucked into the landscape on your right. Tubes coming out of trees and emptying into large white buckets are almost reminiscent of an alien harvesting scene if you don’t know that they are for tapping the maple trees for sap […]

Danforth Designated as a Tree Campus USA 2016

Washington University in St. Louis is proud to announce that it has recently been re-certified as a “Tree Campus USA” for its commitment to encouraging students and university personnel to care for our planet’s tree resources. Tree Campus USA is an initiative through the Arbor Day Foundation that has recognized 333 other universities for their […]

The Sustainable Landscape of Danforth is Changing

Along with the crisp fall air, September brings with it a shifting landscape. By this time the school year is in full swing, but as you are bustling about campus, spare a moment to take in the landscape: all around you are thriving communities of plants. At any given time, these plants are doing much […]

East Campus Construction Begins

On May 22, 2017, construction began on the East Side of Washington University in St. Louis’ Danforth Campus, marking the beginning of a three year project projected to be completed by the Spring of 2019. The redevelopment aims to provide the Danforth Campus with a new and improved entrance to the public and to provide a […]

Trees Find New Home During East End Construction

This summer WashU is beginning a new construction project in front of Brookings Hall on the east end of the main Washington University campus. The new building and underground parking structure will require crews to demolish the existing parking and green space. In preparation for the construction project, WashU’s landscaping team has relocating many of the […]

Danforth Named a Tree Campus USA

Washington University was recently recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree Campus USA recipient for 2016. The campus is home to over 4,000 trees, with 100 plus species that include Shawnee Brave Bald Cypress, Valley Forge, Emerald Sunshine, Lacebark, Frontier, Princeton Elms, Princeton Sentry Gingko, Swamp White, Sawtooth, Willow, Swamp Chestnut, Chinkapin Oaks, Tulip Poplar, Morton […]

Campus Tree Planting Planned for Late Fall

In an effort to increase the canopy on Washington University’s School of Medicine campus, a fall tree and shrub planting project is planned for early December. Various locations on campus have been identified as sites that will receive a combination of shade trees, ornamental trees, and large shrubs. Some of these locations will be included […]

Tree Planting Enhances Forsyth Landscape Project

On November 3, a group of WashU students and staff joined representatives from Bon Appetit, Top Care, Forest ReLeaf of Missouri, and Sleeve A Message for the third annual tree planting event on the Danforth Campus. Participants planted, watered, and mulched 59 trees. The species included Paw Paw, Eastern Wahoo, Vernal Witchhazel, and Post Oak, all of which are native to […]

Prominent Israeli Activist to Speak on Danforth Campus

Etai Pinkas, a leading Israeli activist, will speak at two programs on Monday, November 14. The first event, entitled “From Water Recycling to Urban Green Spaces: A Talk with Israeli Environmental Leader Etai Pinkas,” will take place at 4p in the Women’s Building Formal Lounge and will be followed by a light reception at 5p. The talk […]

Missouri Votes on State Parks, Soil, and Water Conservation Funding

While the presidential election has been covered extensively, it is not the only issue on the ballot on November 8. Missouri residents will vote on several amendments, including Amendment 1, which aims to continue the sales and use tax allocated toward state parks, soil, and water conservation. The tax of 0.1% would generate about $90 million annually […]

Detention Basin Performs During Heavy Rain Events

Nearly a year ago, at the corner of Scott and Taylor Avenues, a detention basin was constructed as part of the landscaping associated with the newly constructed 4515 McKinley Research Building. Since then, the St. Louis area has received periods of heavy rain including a couple of record-setting events. Detention basins are a low-lying area designed to […]

WUGAs Fostering a Sustainability Culture

The Washington University Green Ambassador (WUGA) program launched in 2013 and gives students the opportunity to become sustainability leaders across campus. First-year impacts included making numerous orientation events near-zero waste (over 90% diversion from landfill); recycling 100,000 pounds of cardboard; and distributing hundreds of Eco To-Go reusable box program memberships. Ingrid Archibald, Alex Symes, and Lily […]

Summer Sustainability Round-Up

Over the summer, WashU staff and faculty supported a variety of sustainability projects and initiatives across multiple campuses. Learn more about several key accomplishments below. Energy Efficiency and Green Building Projects Installed a 25 kilowatt (kw) rooftop solar array on the Academy Building, just across Forest Park Parkway from the Danforth Campus (the photo above shows the installation mid-process). Over […]

Forsyth Sustainable Landscape Project

Washington University is committed to establishing more resilient and sustainable campus landscapes that promote human and ecosystem health. One of the newest and largest landscape projects is situated along Forsyth Boulevard, between Wallace Drive and Tolman Way. The plants selected for the site are largely native or adaptive species and include 600 shrubs, 80 trees, and […]