Since 1995 the University of Georgia has removed over 1.5 million square feet of asphalt and added over 50 acres of campus green space, including the conversion of D.W. Brooks Drive to D.W. Brooks Mall pictured above. UGA actively seeks to reduce impervious hardscapes to create green space, improve stormwater quality, and restore wildlife habitats.
The University of Georgia campus was designated as an arboretum in 2000. The Campus Arboretum provides opportunities for academics and research in landscape architecture and environmental planning, ecology, engineering, horticulture, forestry, geography, and more. The Office of Sustainability partnered with the Facilities Management Division Grounds Department and others in a grant-funded project to enhance the tree inventory GIS database, documenting physical characteristics of campus trees and developing strategies to ensure effective long-term management of these resources. Anyone can enjoy a walking tour using the interactive Campus Arboretum Map, also available inside the UGA Mobile App.
UGA has been recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree Campus USA each year since 2010. This program recognizes campuses that have a tree advisory committee, a campus tree care plan, a specifically-funded tree program, annual Arbor Day observances, and annual service-learning outreach projects.
The University of Georgia is a recipient of donated trees as part of a Sustainable Tree Trust Program established by Select Trees. The program includes the planting of mature native canopy trees on UGA property, under the supervision of the FMD Grounds Department. The University is committed to ensuring the tree’s long-term health and contribution to the campus environment.
Water Conservation and Quality
The University of Georgia is recognized as a regional leader in water conservation. Conservation strategies in outdoor water use contribute to UGA’s nearly 30% reduction in potable water use since 2007. Need for landscape irrigation is minimized through the use of native plants, micro-climate appropriate planting design, and minimization of turf areas and annual color beds. Non-potable water is prioritized for outdoor applications (during severe drought conditions non-potable water is the sole source of outdoor watering). Rainwater and condensate water is harvested and used for irrigation, refill of campus fountains, and care of specimen trees.
In addition to removing paved surfaces and significantly increasing green space through sustainable redevelopment, University Architects and FMD Grounds Department have installed well over 70 bioretention areas (rain gardens) and other stormwater best management practices to slow down, filter and infiltrate runoff. These landscape features improve water quality on campus, in natural waterways such as Tanyard Creek and Lily Branch in Athens, and communities downstream.
Plants and Pest Management
Native plants are used extensively at UGA. The Georgia Piedmont and southeastern US provide a palette of plants that are adapted to the region and contribute to the sense of place at UGA. In addition to prioritizing native plant materials in new plantings, University Architects, FMD Grounds Department and engaged student groups are actively removing exotic invasive plants from the UGA campus.
UGA seeks to minimize the use of potentially harmful fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides. Landscapes that require significant resources are minimized. When treatment is required, spot treatment is utilized versus blanket applications when feasible. Seasonal color beds are being managed organically to minimize unwanted weeds and pests while maintaining an environment for beneficial insects.