Wes Powell, assistant director for grounds and landscaping, and APSU have been awarded the Green Board Award from Montgomery County for excellence in water quality because of their work with the Native Meadow installation. They received the award at the annual Green Certification Banquet on Sept. 26, 2019.
“Basically, if it’s outside of a building, it falls in my world. I’m over anything green, landscape, sidewalk, etc.,” Powell said.
APSU and Powell applied for many of the awards with the county and applied for two specifically with the meadow in mind.
“We actually submitted the application for land use, and water quality, so it was kind of submitted for two awards. We were basically throwing it at the wall and seeing what stuck,” Powell said.
While they didn’t win the award for land usage, they did win for water quality.
“What the plants do, they slow the water down, allow it to soak in, instead of just running across open ground, filter out any sediment, chemicals, that would end up in our water system if they weren’t there,” Powell said. “Basically, it cleans the water before it reaches the [storm]drain because once it’s in the drain, it’s in the rivers.”
The meadow started out mainly as an educational garden, showcasing local flora and fauna that any local could plant in their own garden.
“I wanted everything in there to be something that somebody could go out to a field here in Montgomery county or within fifty miles of here and see. Everything that’s in there is regional specific,” Powell said. “I think there are twenty-six species of flowers and grasses, an additional twelve species of shrubs, and six species of trees all native to middle Tennessee and southern Kentucky.”
The native meadow had been in planning for a few years before it was finally able to become a thing of reality. The actual project itself took only two hours, according to Powell.
“It’s funny everyone calls it my baby, because I won’t let anyone else work on it. I did do a lot of the work. All the river rock, I put out myself. One of the main driving points was reducing the amount maintenance for my guys,” Powell said. “At that time, they were having to mow it every week, and fertilize it a few times a year. I wanted to turn it into something that we didn’t really have to maintain.”
“Everyone is welcome to walk in and explore the garden or sit on the bench and boulders to relax and enjoy nature,” Powell said. “I’ve had a few people tell me that they were unsure if they could even go in it, so I wanted to mention that.”
The native meadow installation is not the only sustainability project that APSU has in the cards. Haley Randell, Coordinator for Sustainability at APSU, explained there are a few other projects in the works.
“Right now, we’re working on several projects, like extending the Clarksville Greenway to meet APSU, replacing all fluorescent lights with L.E.D. lights,” Randell said.
In addition to those projects, the current sustainability practices in play include composting, in partnership with the food pantry, the BCycles in front of the Foy and native meadow installation.
Sustainability is a practice that members of faculty, staff and students are all striving towards to make a greener, more sustainable campus.