Conservation and Green Initiatives

The Conservation and Green Initiatives programs continue to expand at the farm. Projects are aimed at enhancing the farm's natural resources while providing great opportunities for research and teaching for students and farm visitors.

Since 2000, several programs have been established, including a bluebird trail of 54 houses, a four-acre prairie restoration, enhancement of ponds using renewable energy, and the creation of a salamander lagoon. In January 2010, a pilot program was initiated to grow food at the farm for the campus dining rooms.

birdhouse
Bluebird Trail

The BlueBird Trail consists of 58 birdhouses along the cross-country trails and research ponds. The area offers an ideal environment for breeding, due to the low grass surrounding the area and plentiful water resources. Over the years, the trail has produced abundant wildlife.

Volunteers check the houses regularly during the breeding season (April to August), record the data, and band the hatchlings, which include bluebirds, tree swallows, and house wrens.

research at the lagoon
Salamander Lagoon

The Salamander Lagoon was created in the north woodlots to increase the abundance and diversity of salamander at the farm.

Two herpetologists, Dr. Martin Rosenberg from the Department of Biology and Dr. Tim Matson from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, are involved in the project and its continued expansion. Dr. Matson has been introducing wood frogs and spotted salamanders into the lagoon for the last several years. Additional farm research is ongoing.

prairie
Prairie Restoration Project

The farm's prairie restoration project began in the spring of 2006 with the goal of restoring four acres of old pasture area into a native prairie containing several Ohio indigenous grasses and twenty forbs species. Surveys during the last few years show a consistent presence of several early prairie forbs.

During spring and summer 2009, 17 wildflowers and grasses were observed in the prairie restoration area. The project is enhancing the farm's rich wildlife and becoming another teaching and research tool to complement the farm's expanding academic programs.

windmill
Windmill System

In the fall of 2006, a windmill was installed at the farm to add air to the water in the fishing pond to replenish its oxygen levels. Over time, the system will help prevent algae and weed growth, improve water clarity, eliminate fish kills, and promote healthy aquatic life from a renewable energy source.

The aeration system is designed to increase circulation and reduce the chances of bacteria buildup and stratification. The oxygen that is pumped into the water is extremely effective in breaking down organic matter and sludge.