Environmentally Friendly Refuge

The University of Utah campus and community puts environmental impact and sustainability in high importance. Quaid Harding, president of the U’s Beekeeping Association and an undergraduate studying biology, is working to further this goal through installing a pollinator demonstration garden on campus. The garden will tackle many key environmental and social issues on campus: reducing irrigation requirements, increasing biodiversity on campus and creating a quiet oasis for students, staff and community members.

The nearly 308-square-meter area will feature a bioswale to reduce flooding in buildings in that area of campus, various plants native to Utah that attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, an area to display artwork from students at the U and a semi-circle wall with nesting boxes for cavity-nesting bees.

“My big goal was to create an area that was an oasis in which you could be distracted from the stress of school and classes,” Harding said. “But, I also wanted to make an area that would be a habitat for bees. People are scared of bees, but they’re so docile! I want students and the community to feel more comfortable around them and outside in general.”

The team was awarded a SCIF grant of $10,000 to kickstart the project, and expect another $30,000 grant to fund the rest of the project. The garden will be located between the architecture, business and UMFA buildings, and should be completed in the next year.

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