With the increasing involvement of higher education institutions in sustainability movements, it remains unclear to what extent college and university campuses address wildlife habitat. Many campuses encompass significant areas of green space with potential to support diverse wildlife taxa. However, sustainability rating systems generally emphasize efforts like recycling and energy conservation over green landscaping and grounds maintenance. We sought to examine the types of wildlife habitat projects occurring at schools across the United States and whether or not factors like school type (public or private), size (number of students), urban vs. rural setting, and funding played roles in the implementation of such initiatives. Using case studies compiled by the National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology program, we documented wildlife habitat-related projects at 60 campuses. Ten management actions derived from nationwide guidelines were used to describe the projects carried out by these institutions, and we recorded data about cost, funding, and outreach and education methods. We explored potential relationships among management actions and with school characteristics. We extracted themes in project types, along with challenges and responses to those challenges. Native plant species selection and sustainable lawn maintenance and landscaping were the most common management actions among the 60 campuses. According to the case studies we examined, we found that factors like school type, size, and location did not affect the engagement of a campus in wildlife habitat initiatives, nor did they influence the project expenditures or funding received by a campus. Our results suggest that many wildlife habitat initiatives are feasible for higher education institutions and may be successfully implemented at relatively low costs through simple, but deliberate management actions.
Bocsi, Tierney; Warren, Paige S.; Harper, Rick W.; and DeStefano, Stephen
"Wildlife Habitat Management on College and University Campuses,"
Cities and the Environment (CATE):
1, Article 1.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/cate/vol11/iss1/1