Although the striking image of bright blooming tulips that dot OSU’s campus during the spring is quite a sight, the short lifespan of these plants left some students curious about what to do with these flowerbeds for the other months of the year. After noticing these empty spaces on our daily commutes, we chose to research the implication of installing native landscapes around campus and, in fact, ended up finding much more benefit than we originally thought possible. From providing basic needs for indigenous species, to potentially serving as a research space and even a field trip destination, all sorts of people and animals can enjoy local flora.
Native landscaping can also aid the university not only in its public image, but also (where some may argue matters most) its wallet. By opting out of the labor-intensive process of continual heavy maintenance on these spaces, and instead installing plants that naturally grow in Ohio, the university can instead provide year-round color at a fraction of the cost. Even by just replacing the annuals around one single building, native plants could provide a savings of about $3,000 a year.
With the university’s “One Framework Plan” and the accompanying overhaul of the campus area on its way into implementation, now is a perfect time to be considering changes that benefit all aspects of campus life. From aesthetics and personal experience to research opportunities and economic perks, native plantings just make sense. Let’s get back to our roots, Columbus.