ISU is cognizant of the impacts of chemicals on our environment and on human health. A comprehensive plan and processes to mitigate use of chemicals is in place. We welcome you to lay on the grass and enjoy the quad without fear of what was applied. For more information, check out our "Lawn Care Product Application" guide.
In a cooperative project with the Town of Normal, Illinois State takes all of its untreated wood waste to the Town to be mulched with yard waste from residential collection. In return, the University stores excess mulch on campus and purchases the grinding blades. The mulch is available for town residents and the University to use. In fact Illinois State uses it in its 27 acres of mulched beds.
Illinois State's Grounds department is a strong believer in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and has been using it for almost two decades on campus. IPM can best be defined as a pest control program that uses several types of control methods that have little effect on man, non-target organisms, and the environment while keeping pests from reaching an economic injury level.
The goal of IPM is to use a balance of various control techniques rather than relying solely on the use of pesticides. These include scouting to identify pests, manual removal of pests where appropriate, and establishing a tolerance threshold for pests. The proper and judicious use of pesticides is also part of the IPM approach.
Students Laura Rohns and Sarah Salanik created this IPM poster.pptx to review the practices of IPM at Illinois State.
In fall of 2009 the Grounds Department received an inquiry as to whether or not the fertilizers used on campus contained phosphorus. The question arose after a local watershed committee began examining ways to reduce the amount of phosphorus in the water supply. Local surface water sources including Lake Evergreen, Lake Bloomington and the Illinois River have higher phosphorus levels than is recommended by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Excess phosphorus in water supplies can lead to algal blooms and ultimately low or no oxygen zones in water bodies. Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for plant growth and is often added to fertilizers; however it is also naturally occurring in most soils.
After reviewing our current practices and soil conditions, Illinois State has decided to no longer purchase fertilizer containing phosphorus.
Tree Campus USA is a new, national program launched by the Arbor Day Foundation that recognizes and honors colleges and universities for effectively managing their campus trees as well as fostering the concept of urban forestry beyond their campus borders into the community. Illinois State was one of the 29 inaugural campuses to receive the Tree Campus designation, and the first in the state of Illinois.
In the past three years, three parking lots have had ultra-thin, white-topping used in place of conventional bituminous asphalt. The parking lots were in need of resurfacing but rather then applying asphalt, a thin three inch (3") layer of concrete was installed over the existing asphalt. Most conventional concrete applications would require the removal of the asphalt and the installation of six inches or more of concrete necessary to withstand traffic loads. Using ultra thin allowed us to use the asphalt already in place as a "base" for the concrete.
There are many environmental benefits to ultra-thin white-topping.