- The University of California, Berkeley, is among universities and
colleges lauded by the National Wildlife Federation in its first-ever
assessment of the environmental performance of U.S. campuses.
UC Berkeley is cited in the National Wildlife Federation's recent
"national report card" for an exemplary lands and grounds management
program. The schools selected in this category boast at least four
of the following campus-wide programs: habitat restoration; native
landscaping; identification and removal of invasive exotic species;
integrated pest management; and provision of food and shelter to attract
"Little has been known, until now, about broader trends in environmental
performance and sustainability in higher education and, consequently,
there has been no baseline from which to measure progress across a
range of issues," the federation said in its report.
The federation did not assign individual rankings to schools, saying
the purpose of the survey of environmental performance at accredited
colleges and universities in the nation is to stimulate discussion
and focus attention on various environmental performances of educational
A leader in integrated pest management since the 1970s, UC Berkeley
crews rely on the least toxic and least harmful, innovative methods
and use pesticides more as a last resort. Margaret Hurlbert, acting
head of pest management at UC Berkeley, said innovation is critical.
For example, she said, the campus uses biological controls to limit
some creatures such as cockroaches and often works with architects
to incorporate preventative designs to keep pigeons and other unwanted
critters away. A fire alarm inside one building was painted white because,
when it was red, it attracted hummingbirds. Nets have been strung across
part of the rooftop of the Hearst Mining Building and slanted concrete
pieces installed near pillars of Tolman Hall to keep roosting pigeons
UC Berkeley landscape architect Jim Horner said the campus also strives
to protect its natural environment. An example can be seen in Strawberry
Creek, which meanders through the central campus.
The urban creek is a resource to thousands of students from UC Berkeley
and surrounding public elementary and high schools. They use it as
an outdoor laboratory to explore environmental studies, art, engineering,
landscape design and other topics. A walking
guide to the plant and animal life, as well as man-made landmarks
along the creek, is available online.
UC Berkeley crews remove non-native, invasive plants where possible
along the creek and replace them with native plants. Plans call for
removing old storm water structures along the creek, replacing walls
with boulders to create a cascade effect and natural changes in elevation
that allow fish to travel upstream.
The National Wildlife Federation made its assessments with the help
of a Web-based survey conducted with Princeton Survey Research Associates
and distributed to presidents, provosts and chiefs of facilities at
3,900 of 4,100 colleges and universities in the country. There were
1,116 responses from 891 institutions.
Open-ended survey sections generated substantial comment about numerous
challenges campuses face in their efforts to improve their environmental
performance, officials said.
The National Wildlife Federation's report, "State
of the Campus Environment: A National Report Card on Environmental
Performance and Sustainability in Higher Education," is online.