Our grounds department has been a long time supporter of caring for our campus in a way that reduces waste, chemical use, and invasive species. Throughout the years grounds has adopted a number of programs to help achieve a more natural campus experience. Integrated Plant Management is the first defense against avoiding pest infestation that focuses on plant health by using native plants, appropriate plant placement, and nutrient management.
When more action is needed to manage pests we utilize Integrated Pest Management, looking to reduce the need for pesticides by raising the threshold for chemical application and taking time to accurately identify a pest infestation. Because native plant species are used primarily across campus, the need for regular irrigation is drastically reduced, with the softball and soccer fields being the only areas that are regularly watered.
To keep the plants healthy, organic fertilizer and compost tea have been used for the past 20 years, reducing our need for synthetic chemicals. Additionally, we compost all of our yard waste on site and use the finished compost across campus to help off-set the need for purchased nutrient supplements.
In 2016, Villanova signed the Bee Protective Campaign in an effort to improve the health of area pollinators. As a signatory, Villanova does not use pest treatments that contain neonicotinoids, which are known to be dangerous to pollinators. Additionally, a concerted effort is made to make sure pollinator friendly plants are present throughout campus.
In April 2017, Villanova was designated a Tree Campus USA School for its dedication to the preservation and management of our unique variety of campus trees, and engagement with the Villanova community through recurring campus tree tours. Tree Campus USA is run by the Arbor Day Foundation, and includes 365 schools from 47 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico.
Tree tours are held during events like Parents Weekend, Reunion Weekend, Sustainability Week, or Earth Week by Hugh Weldon, the campus horticulturalist. Campus visitors are also able to embark on a self-guided campus tree tour through the use of our campus tree map, which features 35 unique tree species!