Working Groups

Environmental Quality

Goals & Progress

The Office of Sustainability 2020 Vision includes two broad goals directly related to campus environmental quality: To plant 12,000 trees and provide the funding, manpower, expertise, and equipment necessary to maintain the health and beauty of campus forests, and to restore the Jordan River from its origin to Indiana Avenue as described in the Campus Master Plan.


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In addition to the 2020 Vision Goals stated above, the EQLU Working Group has recognized four different are to focus on in order to achieve a more holistic vision of campus ecosystem health.

  • Water: enhance water quality, improve water use practices, and include more water conservation infrastructure
  • Land: make more landscaping choices that require less maintenance, ensure sustainable open space planning, and improve the quality of current natural features
  • Air: enhance air quality
  • Cross Media: decrease the size of our chemical footprint

Right now, the EQLU Working Group is focusing on two projects.

Jordan River Project

We work to improve the Jordan River riparian corridor. This project is tied to our goals of water quality enhancement and improving the quality of the campus’ natural features. We focus on monitoring water quality along with aesthetic value. Through Indiana University service learning classes, surveying, and a recent partnership with Informatics to monitor activity on bridges, we are working to get a comprehensive perspective.

Tree Inventory

In the summer of 2015, IUOS intern Will Drews began working with a GIS database to create a comprehensive IU Tree Inventory for the University Architect’s Office and Landscape Services identifying the locations, values, and various attributes of campus trees. Since then, Drews has focused on Emerald Ash Borer treatment and ash tree identification. As tree inventory efforts continue, IUOS intern Zoe Need is currently working to record and value all of the trees donated to campus as well as investigate tree planting practices. Both Emily Hall, an employee of Landscape Services, and IU service learning classes have been tasked to assist with overall inventory efforts.

2020 Transitions Lab Research

During the 2015-2016 academic year, undergraduate researcher Lily Young is working with faculty mentor Kim Novick to complete a project comparing the health of campus trees to the health of trees in Morgan-Monroe State Forest. Five species are being studied: Sugar Maple, Ash, Red Oak, Tulip Poplar, and Spruce. The cores of these trees will be analyzed and compared to the cores of the same species in Morgan-Monroe. In 2012, Indiana experienced extreme drought. The effect of this draught on the different populations of trees will be specifically studied.

Previous Internships

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  • Summer 2012

    Conserving Natural and Cultural Heritage in Dunn's Woods, Hayley Prihoda
    Hayley worked with a multidisciplinary team of faculty, staff, students, and Bloomington community partners to increase awareness about the cultural and natural heritage of the campus's historic Dunn's Woods. Hayley is leading volunteer efforts to remove exotic invasive plants and restore native wildflowers to the woods, assist with historical and ecological research, and help to promote the woods as a learning center for the campus and community.

  • Academic Year 2011-2012

    Fume Hood Efficiency and Labs 21 Pilot, Sara Dille
    More information in Summer 2011 section.

  • Summer 2011

    Fume Hood Efficiency and Labs 21 Pilot,Sara Dille
    Sara researched in the summer new energy saving fume hood technology and analyzed its applicability at various risk levels (high hazard labs vs. intermediate and low hazard labs). She also analyzed existing energy savings devices installed in the science buildings to hopefully develop a guidance document that can be used to select the appropriate technology while not sacrificing worker safety. During the academic year she used outreach materials and an incentive program to expand the “shut the sash” campaign which is aimed at reducing electricity when fume hood sashes are left open.

    Campus Wetland and Stream Inventory, Jason Hewitt monitored and documented the success of the Jordan River mitigation wetlands and riparian habitat, looking at vegetation success, proper hydrology, and the sustained success, associated with a Section 401 Water Quality Certification. This was the third year of the inventory that had previously been two other interns. 

  • Academic Year 2010-2011

    Strategic Land Management, Matt Kerby
    Matt reviewed and analyzed IUB’s Campus Master Plan to help prioritize the implementation of future land management projects. The resulting paper specifically concentrated in best management practices for the Jordan River Restoration Planning and stormwater management.

  • Summer 2010

    Compost Management, Lea Woodward
    Lea worked with the Environmental Quality and Land Use Working Group to create a viable composting program for the IUB campus. The program includes compost site(s) selection, potential uses for processed debris, sale of waste materials and a composting management plan.

  • Academic Year 2009-2010

    Wetland & Stream Inventory of IUB and the Five Regional Campuses, Kari Metcalf
    Kari worked with the Department of Environmental Health and Safety to complete the campus wetland inventory started last summer by an IUOS intern. Her project includes the addition of campus stream inventories. The indentified wetland areas will provide IU with complete knowledge of its water resources for future planning, construction, and mitigation activities.

  • Summer 2009

    Campus Tree inventoryTrevor Hagedorn
    Trevor continued the work of three previous interns inventorying trees on the IUB campus.

    Prairie Restoration and Labyrinth Development, Zach Brown and Marie Buckingham
    Zach and Marie focused primarily on the research and development of a methodological restoration plan. Based on this research and further assessments, the plan they created was specialized to the specific characteristics of the given site.

    Native Landscaping, Wes Kocher
    Wes focused on enhancing the use of native and locally adapted landscaping to decrease costs and reduce the need for fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation.  Specifically, he developed an implementation plan to restore, protect, and scientifically monitor the Dunn Woods, an at-risk area of campus threatened by euonymus.

    Campus Wetlands Inventory, Anya Hopple
    Anya conducted an inventory of wetlands located on the IUB campus. She classified the wetlands based on their ecological health and integrity and provided recommendations for potential future uses.

  • Academic Year 2008-2009

    Campus Tree Inventory, Scott Byrne Scott continued inventorying the 10,000+ trees contained in the University Architect’s database. Continuation of this project was vital to assessing the health and benefits provided by this important asset to the Bloomington Campus.

  • Summer 2008

    Griffy Lake Watershed, Neil Sahu
    Neil identified some of the major issues within the IU Griffy Lake Watershed (IUGLW) related to sustainability. Special attention was given to documenting the current state of the watershed, examining existing management practices, and identifying management priorities within the IUGLW.

    Campus Tree Inventory/Geographic Information System (GIS), Rich Thurau
    Rich continued work on the campus tree inventory. He made significant progress inventorying and performing analysis, reaching the 4,000 tree mark on the IUB Campus.

  • Summer 2007

    Jordan River Study, Nancy Arazan
    Nancy explored prospects for improving protection of the ecosystem, including possibly, erosion control measures, cultivation of native plants on river banks, wetlands, and reconfiguring built-up and landscaped areas adjacent to the river. Her final product included a draft pre-feasibility study for improving protection of the river ecosystem.

    GIS Tree Canopy Study, Brandon Schmitt
    Brandon identified what kinds of data were currently available in IU’s GIS data systems and what types of questions the data answered regarding tree canopy cover, stormwater systems, proximity of potential building sites to utilities and other infrastructure, and other planning and environmental functions. He also collected new data and performed an analysis of peer progress to determine the usability of their data for making planning decisions at IUB that are environmentally sustainable.