Biodiversity & Landscaping
A sustainable campus is one that enhances the biodiversity and beauty of the land it occupies. The University of Idaho is committed to preserving the natural beauty of the Palouse region through native landscaping and restoring degraded landscapes. Explore our programs and projects on increasing biodiversity and sustainable landscaping.
Improving Biodiversity Across the Palouse
Since 2006, the Student Sustainability Cooperative has planted over 8,000 native trees and plants in the Palouse region! Every month, volunteers with the SSC participate in the Get Rooted and Spruce the Palouse service series to restore the endangered Palouse Prairie by planting native trees, shrubs and ground covers in the community. Want to help protect native biodiversity? Volunteer with the Student Sustainability Cooperative.
- Center for Forest Nursery & Seedling Research
- Pollinator Project & U of I Demonstration Garden
- Native Pollinator Garden
- As part of the Student Sustainability Cooperative’s Sustainable Initiative Fund, a group of students planted a native pollinator garden to attract native pollinators to the area. Native pollinators are important because they have evolved alongside the native plants, making them more efficient and effective at pollination.
- The garden is located on the east end of Guy Wicks Field along Paradise Path. In 2021, another SSC student project replanted the garden with new native species including Jessica’s aster, Idaho fescue, yarrow and several others.
- If you are interested in volunteering at the native pollinator garden, email email@example.com
PCEI connects people with the land through programs that encourage sustainable living, experiential learning and opportunities that serve our community while actively protecting and restoring local natural resources. The U of I and PCEI support each other, whether it be through hosting events together or providing student internships. Learn more about PCEI here.
Looking for native Palouse plants? PCEI’s John Crock Learning Nursery sells many native shrubs and trees that can be used in restoration projects or landscaping. Visit the John Crock Learning Nursery website for plant availability and information on purchasing.
The University of Idaho is a proud affiliate of Bee Campus USA, a certification awarded by the Xerces Society. As a certified Bee Campus, the University of Idaho is working to conserve native pollinator species by increasing native plant sites and reducing the use of pesticides in landscaping. Learn more about Bee Campus USA.
The University of Idaho is pursuing a Tree Campus Higher Education recognition through the Arbor Day Foundation, a conservation nonprofit organization that focuses on tree health and abundance. A Tree Campus is one that is committed to making its campus more livable, healthy and beautiful by prioritizing trees. Becoming a Tree Campus would include a more concerted effort to improve upon and increase the University of Idaho’s campus tree cover and overall health of green spaces. The recognition process is being led by the Tree Campus Committee, made up of U of I faculty, staff and students, as well as external community stakeholders. Learn more about the Tree Campus Higher Education recognition.
Why Is This Important?
As human communities grow and flourish, urbanization has turned most of the earth’s native ecosystems into fragmented, highly manicured landscapes that are no longer able to support functioning ecosystems and wildlife. Urban development has greatly decreased biodiversity and has led to an unprecedented pace of extinction of flora and fauna globally. Our own native Palouse Prairie has less than 1% of its original habitat remaining, making it one of the most endangered ecosystems in the United States. Maintaining biodiversity and native ecosystems is essential to the fabric of life, as they support the air we breathe, the water we drink and the soil that grows our food. As we lose biodiversity, we lose the foundation that supports life on earth.
Ways You Can Help
The University of Idaho has a responsibility to maintain the health of ecosystems on and around campus, and to help restore the native Palouse Prairie. We will continue to work to integrate native plants to our campus landscape and to participate in regional projects that focus on ecosystem preservation and restoration. Vandals can join our efforts to maintain biodiversity by volunteering with the Student Sustainability Cooperative, or with local organizations such as the Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute and the Palouse Land Trust.
Vandals who live off campus can also contribute by planting native plants in their own yards. Native plants have many benefits, including using less fertilizer and pesticides, using less water, supporting pollinators, providing shelter and food for wildlife, saving money, and promoting stewardship of the land. City of Moscow Residents can participate in the Wisescape program, which is a rebate program for those who design their landscape with the local climate and water efficiency in mind.
If you would like to learn more about biodiversity and landscaping, the following are great learning resources:
- UN Sustainable Development Goal 15: Life on Land & Biodiversity
- Native Plants and Biodiversity
- Why is biodiversity important?
- Why Native Plants Matter
- Why Native Plants Matter – Audubon Society