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Outdoor Classroom Garden to promote campus sustainability

A few weeks ago, a group of students and faculty gathered in Bowman-Oddy Laboratories for a seed planting — the first official step in the creation of UT’s first Outdoor Classroom Garden.

Dr. Ashley Pryor, associate professor of women’s studies, and Dr. Geoffrey Martin, associate professor of mathematics and interim associate dean of natural sciences and mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences, helped plant seeds last month for UT’s first Outdoor Classroom Garden.

Dr. Ashley Pryor, associate professor of women’s studies, and Dr. Geoffrey Martin, associate professor of mathematics and interim associate dean of natural sciences and mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences, helped plant seeds last month for UT’s first Outdoor Classroom Garden.

The main purpose of the garden is to educate the campus community about things like sustainable agriculture, composting and food preservation in an urban setting.

The garden will be used as a resource by several classes, including those offered by the departments of Environmental Sciences and Women’s and Gender Studies.

The Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women also will use the garden in workshops it offers on homegrown food.

“In the first year, we will start with a vegetable and flower garden,” said Dr. Stacy Philpott, UT assistant professor of environmental sciences. “In subsequent years, we hope to incorporate a native plant garden to promote the biodiversity and conservation of native Oak Openings plants, and a bee or butterfly garden to promote native insect biodiversity.”

Groundbreaking for the UT Outdoor Garden Classroom, which will be located across from the Law Center near the Secor Road entrance on Main Campus, is scheduled to take place as part of EarthFest festivities Wednesday, April 22. Anyone who would like to help can go to that location from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. or stop by EarthFest on Centennial Mall and pick up a tool to take to the site. Philpott will talk about the garden at 1 p.m. on Centennial Mall (rain location Student Union South Lounge).

In the future, to help improve campus sustainability, Philpott said the garden will be linked with rainwater collection and  composting and nutrition. It also will help contribute locally grown food to campus dining halls.

For more information, contact Philpott at stacy.philpott@utoledo.edu.

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