As part of a developing stewardship approach to maintaining the grounds on campus, we have eliminated some troublesome areas from the turf and mowing program by converting them into areas that attract native insects and birds: butterfly gardens and bumblebee havens.
Some of the areas on the Fairfax Campus are near the Finley Building, Fenwick Library, the Lecture Hall, the Sandy Creek Parking Deck, the handicap ramp from Presidents Park, and some sites by student housing.
Flowers such as zinnias, white and purple coneflowers, liatris, marigolds, hydrangeas, lupines, coreopsis, orange butterfly weed, and gaillardia have been planted. They attract butterflies and moths, bumblebees, and birds, such as gold finches and hummingbirds, which have been observed feeding on the flowers or the insects that are attracted to the blooms at the sites.
Over time, as manpower and budgets allow, the Mason Grounds Shop will add a more diverse blend of perennials to the sites.
Submitted by Archie Nesbitt, grounds shop supervisor and “ecosystem artist”