It’s good to be Green
Scripps College sought to conserve natural resources long before “Severe Drought” warning signs popped up in California. Now those plans, and others, are coming to fruition — and they’re keeping the campus beautiful at a fraction of the cost.
An ambitious effort this summer involved conserving water by simply reducing the amount of grass the College maintains. The lawns along Platt Boulevard, which divides the Scripps and Harvey Mudd College campuses, comprised 17,000 square feet of grass on three medians. That water-hungry sod has been replaced with native and droughttolerant plant materials.
“We utilized adapted, low-water use plants and reduced plant areas,” says Lola Trafecanty, director of grounds. “The turf was replaced by a planting of approximately 8,500 square feet of plants in mulch.”
Water savings alone made the project worthwhile; each of the dozens of replaced sprinklers would release up to three gallons per minute. But there are additional benefits — the College now spends less on labor and fuel for maintenance, and water runoff will no longer damage the asphalt. All told, the conservation effort is estimated to save Scripps more than $12,000 a year.
“This project not only conserves water, but it also serves to educate us about the possibilities of using appropriate plant palettes for the native environment without sacrificing aesthetics,” adds Trafecanty. “The oak trees are native to the area and will grow for many generations to come.”
Continuing to maximize water conservancy remains a primary concern for students, faculty, and staff.
“Scripps is the only college in the consortium with isolated water meters for landscaping, and they date back to the 1980s when the College renovated its entire irrigation system to conserve water,” says Trafecanty.
“We’re in this for the long run.”
Above: Scripps students, staff, and friends take a well-deserved break after hours of planting on Platt Boulevard, on October 3, 2014. From left: Gaby Navarro, Katie Cettie (PO ’11), Lola Trafecanty, Fred Carlson, Jessica Ng ’15, and Annemieke Ruina ’15.
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