Wildlife Friendly Campus
Making a College Campus More Habitable to Local Wildlife
College campuses are scattered across the country, owning a lot of land and there are significant pieces of these properties that aren’t being used or already green spaces. These spaces are usually either made into gardens designed for aesthetics or left to grow without much litter clean up. These areas could be used as natural wildlife habitats, with some minor changes or additions.
According to the guidelines for a wildlife friendly habitat set out by the National Wildlife Federation, these habitats should include three food sources , a water source, two places for cover, two places suitable for mating and breed, and two sustainable practices. These things are important for the native insect, bird, reptile, amphibian, and mammal populations and help grow the biodiversity for even small locations. These locations are especially important to the migration butterfly and bird species who need plenty of food and water along the paths they take for their migration. Also, examples of sustainable practices would be a reduction in the use of harmful chemicals and litter, which keeps these things from being taken in by the local plants and animals.
The location on the Ohio Wesleyan campus that I chose is surrounded by the Meek Aquatic Center, Selby Stadium’s parking lot, the field for throwing events for track and field, the rugby field, and a highway. So, it’s a small space that’s constantly surrounded by human activity, but it’s a great place for small wildlife since it has a thick cover of trees and bushed. The main problem for this area is that there is a lot of litter. This poses a choking or poisoning hazard to any animal that tries to eat any of it, but some litter can also leak harmful chemicals left over from the production process.
For my project I located all of the different things that fulfilled any of the requirements listed out by the National Wildlife Federation and also cleaned up the litter found in the area.
The woods provides good cover and plenty of dead and fallen trees that are good for cover and raising young. The throwing field next to the woods could be useful for some species’ mating displays, but, since it’s in use for most of the typical breeding, I don’t think it would usually get used for mating. There is also a pond across the street that could sustain larger animals that can’t drink from the large puddles that are usually under the trees and bird houses lining the outer edge of the woods. There are also bird feeders across the street at the science center. There could be more native plants within the wooded area used as food for local animals, but for most of the semester the plants weren’t out and couldn’t be identified. I was able to pick up almost two full trash bags of litter, which I then separated into trash and recyclables and disposed of.
In the future, I think it would be helpful to know the plants that can be used as food for native animals as well as which are native and which are invasive species. Also, the clean up process needs to be an ongoing thing, which could possibly be a responsibility that the university takes on.