The campus consists of more than just our Academic, Residential and Administrative buildings. It consists of the land that connects these buildings and our community together. How we treat our grounds and diverse landscapes is an important aspect of the sustainability program.
Our grounds department manages the campus landscape with the environment in mind. This means caring for the land in a manner that is the least impactful to the environment and the various organisms (other than just people) that call Saint Michael’s home. From using as little water as possible (see below) and the least harmful pesticides/fertilizers when application of such chemicals is needed. All grass clippings and leaves are incorporated into the College’s Compost site (also managed by the Grounds Department).
Bee Campus Certification
In April of 2017, Saint Michael’s became the 2nd campus in Vermont and 23rd campus nationwide to be certified as a Bee Campus. The Bee Campus USA designation recognizes educational campuses that commit to a set of practices that support pollinators, including bees, butterflies, birds, and bats, among thousands of other species.
Brian Collier’s spring 2017 Eco and Environmental Arts students built Bee Hotels that are placed throughout campus and situated in a way that “leads” you to the Permaculture Farm. At the Permaculture Farm, you will find a Pollinator Garden designed by former student, Karla Clithero, as part of an Academic Internship supervised by Heather Lynch.
The majority of the Saint Michael's College campus is not watered (situated in New England, we receive ample watering from the skies). The college does have a "rain train," which is a large self-propelled water cannon that is used for the central green (located between the Durick Library and the Chapel). It is only used on the driest of summers to keep this area green. For the Doc Jacob fields, we use a ground water recycling system. Young trees are watered for the first year or two, but just localized to their root area. The President's house does have an irrigation system in place, but is only watered in the driest of seasons.
Storm Water Management: Reducing our Impact on the Aquatic Environment
Saint Michael's College is located within the Lake Champlain Basin watershed, a fragile ecosystem home to many aquatic life and plants. Stormwater runoff has a huge negative impact on the water quality for bodies of water. Saint Michael's College has several systems in place to reduce stormwater runoff from main campus that: reduce water flow off campus; catch silt, sand and oils as they leave our parking lots; reduce our impact on the local rivers and Lake Champlain basin.