Environmental Science 585: Junior Seminar in Sustainable Development

The goal for our Junior Seminar, ES 585, Carr Plants, is to design the plantings for the entryway to the building: a few outside the building and several more inside the lobby. On first pass, it seems like an easy enough mission. We’ll go to a nursery, buy some plants, stick them in the ground or in pots and we’ll probably be finished with the class by the third week of September.

Ah, but there are so many questions to answer.

· Who is going to tend the plants? Water them, trim them, treat them when they are infested with pests?

· And if they are infested, what will we use to treat them?

· Come to think of it, maybe plants should be selected for their resistance to disease and insects.

· Or, should we choose plants that are edible as part of Edible Allegheny’s campaign to spread nourishing plants across campus.

· Maybe, the plants should be native plants to promote wildlife habitat, eliminate concerns of our plants becoming invasive speices, and to make an ecological statement.

· What about permaculture? Now that would say something about the Department of Environmental Science before anyone even stepped into the building.

· But what does the Physics Department want to see? The Allegheny administration? The rest of the ES faculty and students? The rest of the campus?

· And let's be honest, anyone can design a garden that is beautiful in the summertime, but this is Meadville. What should we grow for the 10 months a year when it's snowing?