Massasoit Community College Connection
Working with Massasoit Community College professors, staff, and students to create sustainable gardens and promote the use of native plants.
At Massasoit Community College, President Charles Wall joined the growing number of college presidents around the country recognizing global warming. What happens when the college’s president signs a global warming statement? At MCC, a Sustainability Task Force was formed. A Sustainable Landscaping Committee was also formed on the Brockton Campus, comprised of faculty, staff, and students. And, that is how New England Wild Flower Society’s Nasami Farm Native Plant Nursery became involved with the college.
Melanie Trecek-King, Biology Professor at MCC who heads the Sustainable Landscaping Committee, contacted Kate Pawling at Nasami Farm regarding the use of native plants in the first bed to be planted on campus under this project. In 2008, the two worked out the design, decided on the plants, and brought the project in on budget. The Maintenance department helped prepare not only this bed, but also all of the others which have been planted. Students helped with the removal of non-native plants, amending the soil, and planting.
In 2009, two other planting bed projects were accomplished. These were designed by Melanie’s environmental science and intro to biology classes with input from Melanie and Kate regarding plant selection.
The 2008 garden is now in its third season of growth. It is attracting birds, bees, and butterflies plus a lot of attention from students, faculty and staff. Even the gardens installed in 2009 have filled in, albeit with some problems cause by the drought this summer. These three gardens brought so much attention in 2010 that the president asked the committee to design and install another and larger bed.
The Sustainability Committee is also creating a closed campus system for these flower beds, using mulch created on campus from leaves, grass cuttings, and other yard waste, thus saving on its fossil fuel usage by not trucking in mulch. Maintenance crews grind up fallen leaves each autumn with lawnmowers and deliver them to the Committee for placement on the flower beds. There is also a no-mow area on campus and a wildflower meadow was installed in 2010 with the help of Project Native. Committee members will soon begin to collect seeds, propagate plants, and plan further planting around campus.
An exciting outcome of the work on these flower beds is a recently acquired certification from the National Wildlife Federation for a Backyard Wildlife Habitat.
New England Wild Flower Society congratulates Massasoit Community College on its ongoing efforts to create sustainable gardens and looks forward to working with Melanie and her committee in the future.
Native Plant Selection
The following is the list of plants purchased by the Sustainable Landscaping Committee from Nasami Farm Nursery for the first native plant bed. It presents a four-season statement in color, texture, and sustainability.
Aronia melanocarpa ‘Autumn Magic’
Symphyotrichum novae-angliae ‘Alma Poetschke’
Symphyotrichum novi-belgii ‘Wood’s Pink’
Tiarella cordifolia var. collina
Vaccinium corymbosum ‘Jersey’