year, the Grounds Work Unit composts on average around 300 cubic yards of raw
material such as grass clippings, leaves, sod, used perennial bedding material
and food waste. After it breaks down, it
amounts to about 150 cubic yards of finished product which is then screened and
then amended with sand. The resulting
product is then used as top dressing for the many athletic fields and green spaces across campus.
Grounds Work Unit utilizes a compost tea through a process called
Vermicomposting. It is the breaking down of organic material through the use of
worms, bacteria, and fungi. Organic
matter like collected food waste from Dining Services is added to a worm bin
for worms to eat. The resulting product,
vermicompost or "worm castings" is a nutrient rich organic substance.
A ten pound tea bag of the vermicompost
is added to 250 gallons of water in a large holding tank. Grounds staff then sprays this mixture onto
flowers and plants, using it as a liquid fertilizer. Vermicompost is an excellent, nutrient-rich organic fertilizer and soil conditioner.
Grounds Work Unit has the capability to apply liquid salt brine as winter
weather pretreatment prior to icing or snowing. The use of salt brine proves not only to be more
effective on pathways and sidewalks, but it is also cost effective. It takes four times less salt to prevent ice
accumulation than to remove ice after it has formed. This proactive approach saves resources.
Use of Natural
university Grounds staff continues to map out locations across campus where
they take advantage of natural materials to beautify the campus and at the same
time, conserve resources. In example,
they can plan out areas to plant trees where their shade can assist in keeping buildings
cool or provide a wind break. An excellent example of this are a row of trees planted on the east side of the Student Services building. These trees provide natural shade to the windows of the building. They use other
natural resources like boulders to keep people from entering areas that should
not be open to foot traffic for the public’s safety or stones to prevent
erosion of land near gardens and flower beds.
Grounds Work Unit utilizes a wide number of rain gardens across campus. These gardens are not only aesthetically
pleasing, but they also act as retention pods for a valuable resource, water. These gardens help to capture
rainwater runoff and stop the water from reaching the sewer system. Parking lots D, R, Y and P-V contain rain gardens.
keeping up-to-date with the latest advancements in seed technology, the
UWSP Grounds Work Unit uses grass seed that is encapsulated with both starter
fertilizer to accelerate root development and a water retention polymer
designed to keep grass seeds hydrated between waterings. The water
retention polymer provides additional protection should you miss a watering
because the special coating retains water when the soil is moist and
automatically releases it when the soil is dry. This makes the seed ideal for growing grass,
plus environmentally friendly because it contains just the right amount of
fertilizer so there is no worry about excess fertilizer disrupting the
surrounding environment. With the addition of the water retention
polymer, UWSP is able to conserve water.
Grounds Work Unit also utilizes Regenerating Perennial Ryegrass, or RPR, a
subspecies of traditional perennial ryegrass that was developed specifically to
withstand heavy traffic and rapidly recover. This seed technology allows high traffic areas
such as a football practice field to recover faster with less watering, again
conserving natural resources.