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UA’s natural environment can be impacted by the landscaping and grounds staff

UA’s natural environment can be impacted by the landscaping and grounds staff

The University of Alabama’s grounds and facilities staff work year round to maintain and create Capstones lush landscape.

The campus attracts both students and tourists alike, from the beautiful flowers that surround the entrances to buildings to the Quad’s vibrant green grass and picturesque trees, Southern Living highlighted it among its top ten. The South’s Most Beautiful Colleges.

The University of Alabama was given its name Tree Campus USAFor the seventh year in a row.

The Facilities and Grounds department has been ranked the No. 1 grounds departmentThere were over 100 universities in the nation, and one university even received an award. Innovative and effective practicesFrom the Association of Physical Plant Administrators.

Bryant Anderson, director of the grounds department, stated that we have more than 12,000 trees. It is important to take care of them and be recognized for it year after year.

With over 50 speciesSome trees have been at the University for over 100 years. The most popular trees are magnolias or oaks. The rarest tree, the Chinese pistache, was gifted by the Queen in the mid-1800s.

According to the Arbor Day FoundationA campus that is committed to the cultivation of trees, flowers, and plants can absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, reduce energy consumption, encourage physical activity, and provide mental health benefits for students and staff.

Josie Gillette, a freshman majoring Spanish/economics, previously worked in a state parks and volunteers at local parks near Tuscaloosa. When she was considering Alabama, she said that the green space and outdoor areas were what attracted her to Alabama. She is a keen runner and loves that the University has such a large campus.

Gillette shared that other students have told me how the green grass makes them feel happy even on a bad day.

In a 2019 StudyResearchers from the American Psychological Association discovered that contact with nature was associated with increased happiness, well-being, and lower levels of mental distress. It also promoted positive social interactions, a sense of purpose and meaning in life.

Anderson has been employed by the University for 11 year. Anderson is the director for the grounds department. He supervises more than 100 people, including tree trimmers and landscapers.

While the department has grown as the campus grows, Anderson stated that the biggest challenge his team faces is managing such large areas of land. There are 70 groundskeepers who are responsible for the care of approximately 1,500 acres.

The campus is constantly changing and growing in the spring and summer.

The campus may appear less lively in winter, when the trees shed their leaves and flowers wilt. But it comes alive as spring arrives.

Alabama’s hot, humid climate can make it difficult to keep the grass green, flowers alive, and large trees hydrated. With so much land to cover, it can be difficult to pay attention to all areas of the summer.

Anderson stated that the greatest challenge is to keep it looking consistent from week to week and month after month.

Employees work from 6 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. during football season. Game days require extensive cleanup on Saturdays and Sundays.

We put so much work in the campus, and it doesn’t take but one football game for you to see where it has been beaten up, Anderson said. It all comes down to the larger picture. It is for Tuscaloosa’s good, and for the enjoyment of all who visit.

A landscape strategic plan is in place for the department to set a standard for the landscaping and groundwork.

Anderson said that we created a standard that was reminiscent of Nick Saban football. All of our leadership expects this campus to look like that all the times. We are under a little more pressure to maintain that standard.

Anderson said that his job requires trust between himself and his employees.

Anderson said that a hundred and four people have been dedicated to the campus’ safety and beauty. [Students]You are the reason we are here. It is all about making the campus attractive for students, their families, faculty, staff, and other visitors.

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Hannah Shedd is a freshman majoring as an environmental scientist. She said that the campus’ large open space and overall feel caught her eye and made it a priority in her college choice.

UA stoodout to me because it didnt feel crowded, Shedd stated.

Kim Byram is the associate manager of grounds. He has seen the University’s campus grow over the past 11 years. He oversees six people responsible for turf installation, tree planting, and fertilization.

Byram encourages students and staff to appreciate the hardwork of his department as they walk to classes.

Enjoy it while you’re here. Byram stated that it is easy to get too involved in the things you want to do, and miss the beauty of the forest. And that’s pun intended.

Byram learned from other schools how to manage organic waste at a landscaping conference. This knowledge he hopes to use at The University of Alabama.

Byram believes that there are always more things they can do to be environmentally friendly.

I would prefer to use less water. We can cut back on water usage, but that might mean the landscape at periods may not look as nice, so there’s a catch there, Byram said.

This story was published by the Environmental Edition. View the complete issue Here.

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