Southern Oregon University Landscape
The Landscape Team at SOU is deeply committed to conservation and sustainability. Check out some of the things we're doing:
**For updates in real time about all of the fun things our crew gets up to, follow us on Facebook at Southern Oregon University Landscape**
SOU is the Nation's First Ever Bee Campus USA:
In April of 2015, SOU became the first ever Bee Campus USA after months of collaboration between SOU's Landscape Services Dept., SOU professor and local Pollinator Project Rogue Valley founder Jamie Hickner, and the Bee City USA non-profit located in Asheville, North Carolina. We have planted five pesticide-free pollinator gardens on campus so far and continue to incorporate native, pollinator-friendly plant species across campus.
We Compost Food From the Hawk & Elmo's!:
Our Annual Arbor Day Celebration:
Since 2014, SOU’s Landscape Services Dept. has hosted an annual Arbor Day Celebration inviting local K-12 schools, members of the surrounding community, our own student body, faculty, staff, and admin to join us for a free day of education, service learning, community-building, planting and fun. By engaging hundreds of people in hands-on activities and hosting renowned educators, like Mycologist Paul Stamets, we build inspiration to care for our environment. We also offer Continuing Education Units to local landscape professionals and arborists and thereby help educate those who maintain residential, business and municipal areas in our region about healthy and sustainable practices.
The main event is an enormous, campus-wide planting party. Everyone comes together to help us plant dozens of trees and hundreds of plants every year building strong senses of stewardship, pride and connection to the places we live, work, and study. Our native campus Arboretum is the focus of Arbor Day 2016.
Tree Campus USA:
In 2014, Southern Oregon University was accredited with the Arbor Day Foundation's Tree Campus USA award for our work promoting our community forest on campus and helping educate people about the enormous value trees bring to our lives and to the ecosystems we live in.
Tree of the Year:
SOU's Silver Maple tree in the courtyard between the Shasta and McLoughlin dorm buildings won the City of Ashland's Tree of the Year award for 2014.
SOU Botanical & Botanical Tours:
Collaborating with Environmental Science student, Daniel Collay, for his senior capstone project as well as faculty, and staff across campus we are developing signed Sustainability and Botanical Tours to educate our regional community about SOU’s myriad of sustainability programs and biodiversity. To recruit students and foster community-wide engagement, participants are guided by interactive informational signs through a tour from The Farm at SOU, to bioswales and solar arrays at our dorms and Student Union, up to our native Arboretum, through the ECOS community gardens, our pesticide-free Pollinator Gardens and more; over 100 specimen plants and sustainability projects are featured. Our digital campus map includes Sustainability and Botanical Tour layers that allow people to find and read about any spot along the tours. Creating these accessible tours illuminates and encourages the ways in which our campus and greater community can expand sustainability in their lives on- and off-campus.
SOU Landscape has pledged with the Friends of the Earth Bee Cause Campaignto stop the use of all neonicotinoids, a harmful type of systemic insecticide, on campus in an effort to help protect bees and other pollinators.
SOU is a Certified Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation:
Keep your eyes peeled for the new Certified Wildlife Habitat signs around campus.
We are committed to providing the four basic elements for wildlife to thrive on campus, and although we don't always appreciate the deer munching all of our plants we accept that this is their home. There are many types of wildlife on campus that our campus provides habitat for including birds, pollinators, insects, and other mammals like squirrels. A number of downy woodpeckers and other birds have been spotted nesting in trees on campus.
Growing Fungi on Campus:
We have recently also begun an effort to provide the essential elements for fungus to thrive on campus. We have inoculated several logs with various types of edible mushroom spores and have placed them across campus. The picture below shows how we drilled holes into particular types of logs harvested from campus and inserted wooden dowels that are covered in fungi spores into the holes. After the dowels are inserted we covered each hole with a little bit of beeswax in order to protect the fungus from getting eaten before it has a chance to form mushrooms. Have you seen any of these log sections that have wax on them placed in shady spots around campus? Keep an eye on them because pretty soon mushrooms will begin to fruit right out of the wood.
SOU’s Commitment to Water Conservation:
In 2013, SOU's administration courageously opted to invest financially into the future sustainability of the campus irrigation system. The landscaping department undertook the most fundamental irrigation upgrade in SOU’s history. The Landscape Services Department, with support from the SOU Information Technologies Department and the SOU Building Maintenance Department Electricians, was able to disassemble and install all new Baseline Irrigation Solutions controllers and Smart Hydro-meter Flow valves.
By installing 50 Smart Moisture Sensors below ground throughout campus, we now have the ability to monitor live water flow. This provides us graphical representation of the soil moisture levels throughout the different micro-climates on campus. Our Baseline Irrigation Solutions system has the ability to automatically adjust run times via Moisture Sensors on individual zones to ensure that the appropriate amount of water is being delivered to each area. This will help reduce the amount of run-off water on sidewalks, parking lots, and roads. Our Hydro-meter Flow Valves automatically sense breaks in the lines, inform us electronically and shut down the lines until the repairs have been made. The Smart Valves also record graphical flow data and monitor usage in GPM (gallons per minute).
The 2014 North Campus Village landscape designed by local Landscape Architect Greg Covey, will meet LEED Environmental Design qualifications. It was designed with the latest technology in water saving irrigation and utilizes Baseline Irrigation Solutions system. The Irrigation system coupled with drought tolerant plants and a large number of trees make it very sustainable.
Watering is monitored by Landscape Services staff between 7:00 A.M. and 4:00 P.M., and is controlled by the Baseline Irrigation Solutions System at all times. Please report immediately any malfunctioning or misdirected irrigation equipment to 541-552-6117, or submit aWORK REQUEST. On weekends, please contact Campus Public Safety (541-552-6911) to obtain FMP emergency numbers.
Landscape Service's Vision:
Southern Oregon University is settled in the foothills of the Siskiyou mountain range. The climate is amazing, with all four distinct seasons. “Glorious surroundings provide inspiration beyond the classroom, one of the most beautiful and diverse ecosystems in the world—snow-capped mountains, wilderness areas, Whitewater Rivers— surrounding a lively arts community that’s among the most desirable places to live in America.”© 2012 Southern Oregon University.
The Landscape Services Department employees are stewards of SOU’s diverse landscape and exemplify the college’s commitment towards sustainability. We see ourselves building on our interactive relationship with the student body and campus as a whole to fulfill the college’s vision of supporting an interdisciplinary learning environment.
We are a team of landscape professionals who strive to make Southern Oregon University a great place to live, learn, and work. Our focus is to make student's outdoor experiences at SOU a positive one. We are constantly working to improve our practices and lessen our environmental impact. Our goal is to make SOU a destination campus and continue to foster a positive environment where students are encouraged to learn and succeed. Always expanding, diversifying, and revitalizing our landscapes to accommodate the ever changing demands of our customers, is our commitment to SOU.
Our team works hard, shows up (rain, snow, and shine), and works until the job is done. We are optimistic, positive, and helpful.
Please make requests for any temporary or permanent alterations to the landscape by submitting a WORK REQUEST to FMP. All alterations must be approved and coordinated by the Landscape Services Supervisor and the Director of FMP.
Regular maintenance includes mowing, pruning, weeding, watering, fertilizing lawns, trees, and flower beds, outdoor leaf and trash pickup, and all other functions related to exterior campus beautification. The Landscape Services Department also provides support of outdoor projects for the Building Maintenance Division and capital repair or construction projects, such as heavy equipment operation and trenching.
Projects such as outdoor art exhibits, lining the sports fields for athletic events, memorial tree planting, or group activities using the campus grounds must be approved by the Landscape Services Supervisor, The Director of FMP, and the Vice President for Finance and Administration. Departments please submit a WORK REQUESTto request FMP support.
INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT
Landscape Services only uses approved pesticides and herbicides, which are applied by State-licensed applicators. If you have any questions about a chemical being applied, please contact the Landscape Services Supervisor at 541-552-6117. Each applicator carries a Material Safety Data Sheet on the chemical being used.See SOU's IPM Policy.
STREETS, ROADWAYS, AND PARKING LOTS ON CAMPUS
Snow and ice removal as well as maintenance of campus streets and walkways is the responsibility of Landscape Services.SeeSnow and Ice Procedures.
Whenever possible, honeybee swarms are relocated by our local bee keeper, Bee Girl. Bee Girl also helps educate the campus about the benefits of Bees. For more information about bees on campus and elsewhere visitwww.beegirl.org.
OUTDOOR EVENTS/USE OF ATHLETIC FIELDS
Please contact the Landscape Services Division at 541-552-6117, or via WORK REQUESTto notify us of your event. This will ensure that your guests are not "surprised" by water sprinklers suddenly coming on during your event. Please notify us well in advance so that timers may be reprogrammed in a timely manner.
Get To Know Our Crew:
Mike Oxendine: Landscape Services Supervisor
Mike has called Oregon home since 1985 and loves being a part of the Rogue Valley. He is a professional C ertified International Society of Arboriculture Arboristandlicensed Oregon Landscape Professional. He also serves on theCity of Ashland Tree Commission. Mike has anAssociates of Science Degree in Businessand is a full time SOU student in the Innovation and Leadership program. He will obtain aBachelor of Science Degree in Innovation and Leadership the summer of 2016. He has worked in the landscape industry since 2001 and loves working outside with plants. He is an avid sports enthusiast and loves backpacking with his wife Erin and his dog Indy. He loves working for SOU and has been at SOU since 2007. He has a lot of vision for the landscape at the university and looks forward to being a part of a new, sustainable, and exciting future here. He feels he is member of the best team on campus and really enjoys being around his co-workers.
He has recently created and chairs SOU’s firstTree Advisory Councilwhich gained national attention in 2015 when SOU received the distinguishedTree Campus USAtitle from the Arbor Day Foundation. Mike is focused on making the SOU campus landscape the most sustainable in the USA, and in 2015 Mike collaborated with Bee City USA to make SOU the firstBee Campus USAin history. Mike also nominated SOU's Silver Maple tree in the Shasta/McLoughlin courtyard as theCity of Ashland's Tree of the Yearfor 2015, which it won with the help of SOUs tree supporters and their votes.
Jay Watkins: Landscape Services Foreman
Jay has worked at SOU since the spring of 1995. He is an expert landscaper and knows the campus landscape better than any other SOU employee. Jay has mastered all aspects of SOU Landscape Services from heavy equipment operation, aerial lift pruning, large irrigation designs and installations, and IPM management practices. Jay is responsible for training and oversight of the landscape. When not at work Jay has three wonderful daughters, a wife, and a new grandson. He also enjoys gardening at home, scuba diving, and cowboy shooting.
Tate Dunn: Landscape Services Irrigation Technician
Tate graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Horticulture and gained valuable experience working for the Oregon State Parks Department and local nurseries. He is our go to person for irrigation repair and maintenance. Tate is a Licensed International Society of Arboriculture Arborist and is our primary aerial lift pruning specialist. Tate also has his State of Oregon Landscape Contractors Board Professional License. When Tate is not at work he likes to hike, rock climb, garden, ride dirt bikes, and most importantly hang out with his wife.
Kyle Riggs: Landscape Services Horticulture Specialist
Kyle had his start in horticulture when he was five years old and grew his first tomato plant from seeds that he had collected. Since then he has studied Environmental Studies and Biology at Sonoma State University in California, worked as a landscaper, worked as the Agricultural Technician at Mendocino College, and as the Manager at historic Hanley Farm in Central Point. Kyle is responsible for our propagation program, landscape bed design, and is our go-to farming expert. He loves living in Ashland with his wife Nancy and their son Jasper. When not at work Kyle likes canoeing, reading, and making and enjoying beer.
Samantha Pennington-Vrsek (aka Sam): Sustainability and Landscape Maintenance Specialist
Sam was born and raised in western Michigan, surrounded by woods, wetlands, lakes, and rivers. She first moved to Oregon in 2010 to live and work as a wwoofer at Sanctuary One, an animal sanctuary and organic farm in the Applegate Valley. After moving to Ashland she became a full-time student at SOU and is currently set to graduate in the Innovation and Leadership Program in the summer of 2016. She served in ASSOU as the Director of Sustainability and was among the first student employees at the SOU Center for Sustainability. She now sits on the Sustainability Council and is actively involved across campus. As a member of the SOU Landscaping Team, Sam loves learning how caring for trees and plants can influence other species. She is passionate about pushing the envelope in sustainable landscape management. She finds hands-on and hard work to be extremely satisfying, loves the Southern Oregon University campus community, and looks forward to being a long-term member of such an amazing team.
For question or comments please feel free to contact:
Mike Oxendine, Landscape Services Supervisor