BIODIVERSITY AND LANDSCAPING
Southern Oregon University is a 180 acre campus settled in the foothills of the Siskiyou mountain range. There are four distinct seasons and glorious surroundings to provide inspiration beyond the classroom. This is one of the most beautiful and diverse ecosystems in the world—snow-capped mountains, wilderness areas, Whitewater Rivers— surrounding a lively arts community that’s among the most desirable places to live in America.
Southern Oregon University strives to maintain a safe, sustainable campus where students and wildlife can thrive. Whether it be through the pollinator gardens maintained on-campus or the arboreal biodiversity, SOU Landscaping works to make the campus beautiful and welcoming.
SOU has over 300 different species of trees on campus. Diversity is the foundation of resilience.
SOU is home to around 10,000 tress which provide clean air, habitat for fauna, and shade from the sun.
SOU was the first Bee Campus USA in 2014 and continues to maintain Bee Campus certification.
SOU became a Tree Campus in 2014 and continues to maintain its Tree Campus certification.
Biodiversity and Landscape Goals
- SOU’s landscape and biodiversity is that it is managed in a way that aligns with the changing climate and in a way that the aesthetics, social and environmental values are part of the experience on the campus.
- To maintain our certification for Bee Campus USA
- To maintain certification for Tree Campus USA
Plants and Ecology
Our landscape planning relies heavily on ecological design practices, incorporating regionally-adapted, native, and drought-tolerant plant species. Our ongoing lawn conversion projects aim to increase plant biodiversity, continue to attract a greater number of bird and pollinator species as well as transition to a more drought tolerant campus in recognition of the changing climate.
Southern Oregon University continues to earn recognition as a Tree Campus USA – an honor it’s held since 2014. Tree Campus USA, an Arbor Day Foundation program started in 2008, honors colleges and universities and their leaders for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation.
A total of 383 campuses nationwide received the recognition in 2019, but only seven colleges in Oregon were recognized – six universities and one community college. SOU is listed among those seven because it fulfilled Tree Campus USA’s five core standards for effective campus forest management: a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, a dedicated annual expenditure for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and a student service-learning project.
There is a Tree, Bee and Bird committee with representation from faculty, staff and students to oversee SOU’s Tree campus work.
Our forested setting is a natural home to many thousands of species of wildlife. Birds, deer, foxes, and others all traverse our campus trails and open spaces.
Our projects capture stormwater and incorporate drought-tolerant, native plant species. Our irrigation development projects serve the long-term goal of reducing our irrigation water use through data-driven and sensor-based technologies. Low-volume/high-efficiency sprinklers, weather-based control systems, and lawn-replacement projects all contribute to operating with the least possible impact to our local watershed.
The Farm at SOU
The Farm at Southern Oregon University is a center for sustainability. The student-led organic farm produces healthy, sustainably harvested food for the SOU community. The Farm provides food to SOU Dining as well as the Ashland School District. The Farm is a hub for education, student and faculty research and community outreach to the Rogue Valley. Projects on The Farm inspire a generation of ecologically-committed leaders who promote a vision of living and working sustainably in community and on the land. See more here.