Biological Sciences & Campus Alliance for Sustainability and the Environment (CASE-OU)

Earth Day 2022 celebration

Oakland University celebrated Earth Day 2022 by planting a pollinator wildflower garden with plants native to Michigan

Earth Day, Biology, Wildflowers, garden, pollinator, mary jamieson, CASE-OU

icon of a calendarApril 22, 2022

Share this story

Oakland University celebrates Earth Day 2022
Many hands make light work is the saying. It was never more true than at OU's Earth Day celebration on April 22, 2022. Many campus and community members came together to create a new pollinator garden with native wildflowers at OU.

In celebration of Earth Day 2022, the Campus Alliance for Sustainability and the Environment at OU (CASE-OU), in collaboration with the OU Student Congress and the Pollinator Conservation Organization at OU, invited campus and community members to participate in creating a native wildflower bed in the courtyard between the Oakland Center and Kresge Library.

Several faculty, staff and students rolled up their sleeves and participated. Many more stopped by to show support of the campus activity. And, we even got a little gardening help from several children from the Lowry Center for Early Childhood Education as you will see in the slideshow above.

Funding for the Earth Day event was provided by the OU Student Congress.

Did you know native plants provide ecological benefits in a number of ways. They include:

  1. Water Retention: Their deep root systems retain water in the soil where it belongs in order to recharge the local water aquifers, and keeps it out of the storm drains.  As we pave more and more of the earth, we prevent water from seeping into the ground.  Consequently, storm drain systems are overwhelmed with water running off pavement and turf grass, carrying a wide variety of pollutants into our streams, rivers and lakes where they cause further ecological damage.
  2. Pollinator Support: Native plants are a source of food for native insects, which provide pollination services and therefore enable the production of food for the entire ecosystem.  Most insects evolved over thousands of years to either prefer or specialize in specific native plants.  Non-native plants are of no value to them.
  3. Carbon Sequestration: Native plants develop very deep root systems, which retain carbon in the soil rather than expelling it into the air.  Compared to turf grass which only creates roots as deep as the height of the grass above, which is constantly cut, natives develop root systems that go well beyond the height of their visible growth above ground.  While non-natives sequester carbon in the same way, natives accomplish more.  And both are better than traditional turf grass.
  4. Cost Savings: No mowing, pesticides, fertilizer, or soil enhancements will be required. Because these plants are native, they thrive in the conditions on campus and need no special care. After native plants are established in an area, they need little to no watering even in drought conditions.
  5. Beauty: Native plants can be chosen for a garden that provide color and beauty all year long.  From spring ephemerals, to summer color to autumn and winter architectural interest, a native garden bed will improve the looks of our campus.


Share this story