OSU Cascades plans to utilize its new campus as a living and learning lab for all students, said Matt Shinderman, teacher of sustainability and advocated sustainable landscape planner for OSU Cascades. Shinderman is interested in engaging humans in a more sustainable future. He hopes that the landscape will provide students with knowledge of what a sustainable landscape is.
The OSU-Cascades landscape will be a reflection of the Mazama Ecological Province by supporting native plant communities. The different soils and topography of the landscape around the OSU building will reflect plant community associations common to the Central Oregon area. Plant community associations are comprised of five to ten closely related groups of plants in a similar environment. These environments are defined by their climates, soils and history of natural disturbances such as wildfires, diseases and insect outbreaks.
The landscape will oppose the quotidian random urban landscape and represent sites for exact plant species and densities.
Shinderman and Rick Martinson, teacher of Horticulture at OSU Corvallis and owner of natural landscaping company Wintercreek Restoration, are the two facilitators of the landscaping project with voluntary help from Natural Resource (NR) students. NR is one of the fastest growing programs on the OSU/Cascades campus and over one hundred students have declared NR as their major.
The group was budgeted $44,000 for the campus and Shinderman said that “it will have to do. The landscape will cost OSU much less than a traditional landscape, especially with volunteer help from myself, Rick and NR students.”
OSU will also save money long-term by incorporating a sustainable landscape because it does not require irrigation.
The landscaping will be managed by the NR students and it will be incorporated into their curriculum. It will help students learn about restoration and benefit students across disciplines.
Danielle Meyers | The Broadside