Current Programs & Initiatives
Dunn's Woods Restoration Project
"Reconnecting with Place. Conserving our Natural and Cultural Heritage." Begun in 2011, the Dunn's Woods Restoration Project is a collaborative effort between students, faculty and professionals aimed at mitigating Dunn’s Woods, a 10-acre woodland on IU’s campus, and Latimer Woods, a 10-acre woodland located on the east side of Bloomington, of invasive species, thereby restoring the natural ecosystem of these urban woodlands. Every week, volunteers spend an hour at the sites pulling Purple Wintercreeper, the largest invasive threat at both sites, and planting native wildflowers.
Tallgrass Prairie Restoration
In 2009 as an effort to return part of IU's land to its original ecosystem and as part of a faculty and student research project this restoration project was started. Each spring students add another experimental segment to test usefulness of inoculating prairie plants with soil organisms isolated from some of the few remaining prairie remnants in Indiana. Most prairie plants associate with a group of mycorrhizal fungi. Legumes like prairie clover can also associate with a group of soil bacteria, rhizobia. Seedlings are grown with and without prairie mycorrhiza. The legumes are grown with mycorrhiza and rhizobium, with only mycorrhiza or rhizobium or neither. We are finding that some prairie plant species that are often difficult to establish in restorations grow significantly better with inoculation while other plants are not as dependent on inoculation for survival and growth. For more information, or if you are interested in participating you can contact the Department of Biology Outreach.
Indiana University Teaching Preserve
The Indiana University Research and Teaching Preserve (IURTP) was established in May 2001 by the Indiana University Board of Trustees. It consists of approximately 1600 acres of natural areas divided amongst seven sites and a field lab that was more recently completed in 2009. These natural areas provide unique opportunities for teaching, research, and service for both the IU and Bloomington Community. For more information about volunteering or the work that is done at the IURTP, please visit their website.
Integrated Pest Management
Cockroaches and bedbugs are just some of the pests that are found on college campuses everywhere. At IU, the Environmental Health and Safety division is working with groups on campus such as the IU Residential and Programs Services to come up with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. IPM is a more comprehensive form of management that includes education, monitoring, treatment, etc… It does so in a way that is more cost effective and minimizes hazards to human and environmental health. Currently at IU, different groups such as RPS have separate outside contracts with pest control companies. The EHS’s work to create an IPM based contract used by all groups will ensure that these more human and environmentally healthy guidelines will be met
Wright Education Wetlands
In 2010 due to the expansion of the Eigenmann Hall parking lot, natural wetlands were lost and part of the Jordan River was diverted. As a result, a local sub-contractor, Eco-Logic, was hired to undertake a mitigation project to make up for the loss of the natural wetlands. With the help of SPEA students, 3,000 plants were installed in a wetlands area near the Wright Education Building along the Jordan River corridor. Since its implementation, the mitigation project has increased the area’s biodiversity, flood control, and a better absorption of pollutants than previously. The wetlands are currently flourishing and students have been involved with maintenance projects such as removing volunteer maples. The project is exemplary of a successful incorporation of native species and sustainable landscaping that can be used throughout other campuses.
Shut the Sash Campaign
The Shut the Sash Campaign is a project that being carried out by the Office of Sustainability and Environmental Health and Safety. While many people are unaware of it, chemical fume hoods in laboratories are using energy even when not in use. Through a funded internship, fume hood efficiency was analyzed and a campaign was then implemented. The campaign used education and reminders (in the form of stickers) to close the fume hood sash when no in use and have it at a lower level during use. This lowering of the sash is more energy efficient and safer. You can read more about the project here.
Storm Water Quality and Management ProgramThrough Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), IU has had a Storm Water Quality and Management Program since 2005. The program has included students undertaking storm water monitoring, inspecting construction sites for best management practices, assisting regional campuses, and education through social media and public outreach. To find out more about the program and other storm water information, you can visit their Facebook Page.
The CuttersA group of IU students are implementing a green infrastructure project designed to slow the flow of stormwater runoff in two natural settings on the Bloomington campus: Dunn’s Woods and the Research Teaching Preserve. Both these areas are existing green infrastructure that naturally catch rainwater, but are plagued by a high volume and velocity of water that causes erosion after storms. The students seek to boost the areas’ capacity to handle urban water runoff. The group, which call themselves the Cutters (a name intended to evoke the image of traditional craftsman who shaped Indiana limestone into elegant structures) have entered Environmental Protection Agency's RainWorks Challenge, a competition with a monetary prize, to aid them in the implementation and monitoring of their green infrastructure sites. Their entry and plans can be seen here: Design Board 1, Design Board 2, Project Narrative. In addition to their project they are also creating a storm water portfolio online where information about stormwater on IU's campus can be accessed and will provide administration valuable information for stormwater related decisions.
Greening IU's Landscape
IU is nationally known for having a beautiful campus. Wiith the commitment of both fauclty and staff we are working to make our campus's beauty more than just skin deep. Changes are being enacted to make sure our landscape practices are more sustainable and eco-friendly.
- MC-IRIS is a group of Monroe County citizens who work together to reduce the environmental and economic impacts of invasive species through education and outreach.
- Look here for information about Bloomington initiatives, programs, and recreational spaces. Bloomington Parks and Recreation aims to build and preserve greenspace throughout Bloomington to promote the health and quality of life of its citizens.
- Come to this site to check out another natural area nearby for you to explore. The site has information all about the forest as well as maps and directions.
- If you are interested in land preservation, visit the Sycamore Land Trust a local NGO that has preserved over 6,000 acres in southern Indiana.
- The Illinois Wildflowers website provides extensive information about flowers native to the midwest, specifically Illinois. The information available on this website is useful for understanding the interconnections between flora and wildlife and the necessity of preserving natural ecosystems. Use this resource to plan your own landscaping projects.