The USC Native Plants Demonstration Garden is now up and growing! Through a collaboration between The Environmental Core, Environmental Student Assembly, Green Engagement Fund, Theodore Payne, our faculty allies and USC Facilities Management Services, roughly $1300 of California native plants were planted in Queens Courtyard on Friday, December 11th, 2015. We highly encourage you to visit it yourself (search for “Queens Courtyard” over at USC Maps) and witness what we hope to be the beginning of a long transition to a more vivacious campus ecosystem. Though the garden may not look like much yet, all of our plants are showing good signs of taking to their new homes and provide an opportunity for each class to witness the pace of natural growth over the course of their four years at SC.
As of October 2016, members of the Environmental Core are again collaborating with the Environmental Student Assembly and Facilities Management to execute a followup project revitalizing the Queens Courtyard native plants garden and installing formal signage informing the community of its function. We hope to apply to the Green Engagement Fund once again to expand native plants to an entirely new site with the guidance of professional landscape architects sometime in early Spring 2017.
Native plant landscaping is an absolutely critical component of the green cities mission being taken up all across the nation. Not only are such plants predisposed to the local levels of precipitation and therefore in no need of intensive watering, but they help to reinstate the foundations of a functioning ecosystem. 90% of primary consumers in the LA basin (insects, caterpillars and such that form the base of the food web) can only feed on specific plants native to their home ecosystem. Over the last century, as these plants have systematically been removed from Los Angeles and replaced with foreign, ornamental vegetation, the ecosystem has therefore ground to a halt. In order to truly understand the importance of coexisting with the environment as a global civilization, we believe students need to experience such processes at a local and personal level. We’d like to say a special thanks to USC Facilities Management Services and the building managers of the Bing Theater, Norris Cinema, and Annenberg School of Communication & Journalism for taking this first step with us.
Take a look at the gallery below to see how students, faculty, and USC FMS are working together to make this project happen!