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NSU Students Participate in Campus Environmental Project

student planting new shrubs on NSU campus

Biology students, in partnership with Norfolk State’s Department of Facilities Management,Parkway Grading Inc., BrightView Landscape Services and the Elizabeth River Project (ERP), planted a native plant meadow between James D. Gill Health and Physical Education Building and the Student Center.

student digging up soil to plant a new treeThe planting is part of the University’s effort to revitalize stormwater treatment areas on campus that hold and treat runoff. The stormwater treatment areas known as Best Management Practices (BMP) control potential flooding, prevent and reduce water pollution, and improve the water quality. The BMP next to the meadow will be covered in turf and will soon have informational signage.

To support the planting, students like Brooke Roundtree were able to get involved. “It feels very meaningful to be a part of the campus purpose,” said the junior biology pre-med major.

Native plants were chosen for the project because they are better suited for this area, and more beneficial to the ecosystem. They have deeper roots to soak in water and prevent soil erosion and provide food and cover for pollinators and songbirds. The plant palette for the meadow is in NSU colors of green and gold and includes Sweet Bay Magnolia, Golden Alexanders, Sweet Pepperbush, and more.

excavator used to level the soil to plant new shrubs and trees on NSU campusNative planting and the importance of ecosystems was something student Tyler Fordham has been able to learn firsthand. The senior biology major interned over the summer with ERP where she was able to broaden her horizons on what she can pursue, particularly in the environmental space. “Let’s take care of the environment now, and not wait until it's too late,” said Fordham.

The students involved in the planting were from Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Stephen Via’s Botany class. Via feels students were able to have a chance for skill building. “Opportunities like this give them experience to see if this is a field they want to pursue. Because there is academic work in restoration planning and all kinds of work that involves sample collecting.”