On their way to class, Cornell University students stroll past a garden planted with bayberry and red-twigged dogwood shrubs. But they may not know that this is a rain garden that helps filter and hold water during heavy storms.
Cornell horticulture professor Nina Bassuk says the university has been using techniques for sustainable landscapes for a long time, but people didn’t know that they were special in some way.
Now that’s changing. Bassuk led the creation of a sustainable landscapes trail on Cornell’s campus.
It’s a self-guided tour with about 20 stops. At each one, visitors can use their phones to learn more about the landscaping techniques used at that location.
Many features on the trail – like the rain garden – help the campus adapt to extreme storms and other climate change impacts.
“There’s a new parking lot with all porous asphalt,” Bassuk says. “The water goes through the asphalt and into the ground.”
Other landscaping techniques help reduce carbon pollution: For example, one lawn is planted with native grasses that require minimal mowing.
It’s a model for turning a scenic campus into an immersive learning landscape where people can literally take a path to sustainability.
Reporting credit: Stephanie Manuzak/ChavoBart Digital Media.