Sustainability on Grounds

Puget Sound's beautiful Pacific Northwest campus, featuring native ferns, seasonal blooms, and a tree canopy of towering Douglas Firs, is undoubtedly one of the features that make the campus special. Sustainable practices are woven into the maintenance of campus grounds.

Landscaping and water saving

Native, climate-adaptable plants are used throughout campus landscaping and require less waters. Organic fertilizer products are used; chip woody plant materials are reused on campus; lawn clippings are returned to lawns during dryer seasons; well-maintained and lower-emission equipment is used to maintain landscape.

A centrally-controlled irrigation system includes a weather station that measures five parameters: Wind speed, humidity, temperature, solar radiation, and rainfall. Those factors automatically calculate daily evapo-transpiration and produce proper irrigation to replace lost water. The system has a rain sensor which cancels watering if rainfall occurs.


Tree Canopy Mapping Project

In addition to providing an aesthetic backdrop for Puget Sound's campus, trees provide many benefits in the form of reduced energy consumption, reduction of air pollutants, and storm water regulation. In July 2016, the Grounds Department partnered with Plan-It Geo, a geo-spatial technology firm specializing in urban tree inventory and natural resources software, to create a tree canopy map and inventory for the Puget Sound campus. Mapping this resource provides a baseline for routine tree maintenance, helps protect biodiversity on campus, and identifies where new trees can be planted.

There are 1,511 trees on campus, the largest being the iconic Giant Sequoia which stands tall outside of the Wheelock Student Center. The tree canopy covers 22% of campus, and the most common species is the Douglas Fir. Overall, the trees on campus help to mitigate over 3,000,000 gallons of storm-water runoff prevention annually.

Puget Sound is certified by Tree Campus USA, a program that helps colleges and universities around the country establish and sustain healthy community forests.


Wildlife on campus

Puget Sound grounds maintenance staff consults with the biology department to enact wildlife habitat protection practices, such as installing plant material that provides food sources, leaving some campus areas more natural, and avoiding bird nesting areas. The Hiveminders Club raises awareness about bees by cultivating and harvesting beehives for Puget Sound and promoting local and sustainable pollination and honey production.


LEED-certified buildings

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) sustainability standards are applied in renovation and various construction projects. LEED-certified buildings include the Facilities Services Complex, Weyerhauser Hall, and Thomas Hall.


Community Garden

The Puget Sound Garden is a space for individuals to come together to share a love of fresh, local food. Some food that is grown in the garden makes its way to the Diner to be served in meals. The garden is a way for students to get their hands dirty, learn sustainable gardening techniques, and enjoy the fruits of their labor.

The Garden Club utilizes the on-campus community garden space to learn about best garden practices, the importance of fresh, local foods, and how to build an engaging community that cares about the natural environment. For more information, contact garden@pugetsound.edu or visit our Facebook page.


Zero-waste events

At zero-waste events, none of the items used end up in a landfill. Sustainability Services coordinates these events. If you'd like to make your next event zero-waste, email recycling@pugetsound.edu to make arrangements.