Northern Arizona University to study sustainable landscape maintenance

The Northern Arizona University student Green Fund has awarded a grant of $26,952 to conduct a pilot project to study sustainable landscape methods based on organic principles without the use of chemical herbicides.

“The major benefit of this project is that it will be eliminating chemical herbicides and pesticides from NAU’s campus lawns,” said Elizabeth Erdelyi, environmental studies major and co-writer of the Green Fund proposal. “Grounds has worked hand-in-hand with us on this project. Eliminating those chemicals from the lawns on campus will allow for a more sustainable and natural landscape on campus and it will be more beneficial to the landscape.”

Two students working with the Northern Arizona University Sustainable Environmental Practices Action team, an initiative of the university’s Environmental Caucus, prepared the Green Fund proposal. The grant will cover material, labor and student internships for the project and is expected to start this spring.

The Environmental Caucus is a faculty, staff and student organization working collaboratively to advance the university’s commitment to sustainability.

Last March, NAU students overwhelmingly voted to create the Green Fund. The fund is a $5 per semester fee that goes toward making NAU’s Flagstaff Campus more sustainable.

According to Green Fund principles, funding can be applied toward any number of projects, such as reducing NAU’s carbon footprint, using more renewable energy or increasing recycling efforts on campus.

“It’s important to realize that some people may think that eliminating these chemicals from the lawns on campus is a small and insignificant step, but it isn’t,” Erdelyi said. ”Little steps like these will hopefully make the community of NAU, as well as the community of Flagstaff, stand up and demand for a more sustainable and eco-friendly way of life.”

The goal of the Green Fund is to ensure that projects fall within the parameters and desires set by the NAU student body. The Green Fund and NAU President John Haeger seek to support student campus- and community-based projects that promote sustainability in an effort to reach carbon neutrality by 2020.

For information about NAU’s Green Fund or the sustainable landscape pilot project, visit the Green Fund website.