All of the Valencia College campuses have elements of the natural Central Florida environment. West Campus employees have catalogued several animal and plant populations on their campus. We seek to maintain and enhance these to use each Campus as a Living Laboratory. Special attention is given to using Florida native plants, creating wildlife habitat and living laboratory opportunities, integrated pest management (IPM), protecting water quality and campus water fronts, and organic fertilizers.
Tree Campus USA
Valencia College has been awarded the Tree Campus USA designation by the Arbor Day Foundation. The college achieved this designation by meeting the required five core standards for sustainable campus forestry.
Read Valencia’s Tree Care Plan here. Contact Dave Gennaro, college-wide Director of Grounds at email@example.com or (407) 582-3453 to be added to the Tree Campus USA Advisory Committee email list for meeting invitations and agendas or to learn more. Quarterly meetings are held the third week in January, April, July, and October to discuss strategies and areas to advance the quality and benefits of campus trees. The committee is open to Valencia employees and students, as well as community tree professionals.
Campus as a Living Laboratory
Outdoor Classrooms at West and Osceola Campuses can be reserved in the same way that regular indoor classroom reservation. Outdoor classrooms provide an alternate space for instructors to get their students closer to the subject they are learning about, to stimulate student creativity and productivity by being in the outdoors with sunlight and fresh air, or to change up a routine classroom schedule or meeting.
Adding educational signage to outdoor features provides instructors and students with learning opportunities outside of the classroom. In the future, these preliminary efforts may be expanded with a long term plan for outdoor educational signage as part of a Living Laboratory plan.
Nature walks have been provided by different faculty, staff, and students over the years at the East, West, and Osceola Campuses. To inquire about scheduling a nature walk at your campus, contact Resham Shirsat, Director of Sustainability at firstname.lastname@example.org or 407-582-1830.
Pollinator Gardens and Habitat
Pollinators such as bees, butterflies, bats, and birds are in global decline. All three major campuses (East, West, and Osceola) have small pollinator gardens to educate students about the role of birds, bats, bees, and butterflies in our food system and ecosystem. West and East Campus also have bat boxes that are both inhabited. Building bird boxes has been a popular hands on activity at West Campus Learning Day over the last few years with participants’ boxes being used to support campus populations or taken home to support backyard wildlife habitats. Osceola Campus has osprey towers which we hope to replicate at other campuses.