With an eye on a warming planet and the North Coast’s future, Cal Poly Humboldt is turning its attention groundward with a new project designed to create a more resilient landscape in the face of climate change.
It’s called the Climate Resilient Landscaping Demonstration Project and will be funded in part by a grant recently awarded by the Acceleration Fund from Second Nature, an organization dedicated to accelerating climate action in, and through, higher education.
Cal Poly Humboldt was one of nine higher education institutions that received a grant that supports climate action activities driven by colleges and universities. It also supports projects that advance decarbonization and/or campus-community partnerships and resilience goals.
The Acceleration Fund was first introduced at the 2020 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit. Funding for this third round was made possible by an anonymous foundation.
The Humboldt project—one of many initiatives that support the University’s new climate goals—calls for planting native flora that can rebound in a climate constrained future and at the same time reduce maintenance, saving labor, water, fuel and, in turn, supporting local pollinators.
Climate Action Analyst Morgan King says the project also serves as a living lab that provides Cal Poly Humboldt students now and in the future firsthand experience with environmental resilience research and development.
For example, Climate Action interns Seth Beres and Shaye Grant, both Environmental Science & Management majors, researched climate resilient native plants and their benefits to local pollinators. Students minoring in Environmental Education and Interpretation students will also create content and signage for the project.
"Cal Poly Humboldt is committed to reducing its carbon footprint while protecting and enhancing the resilience of our local communities, in a way that prepares our students with skills and knowledge to navigate a climate constrained world,” says Cal Poly Humboldt President Tom Jackson, Jr. “The Climate Resilient Landscaping Demonstration Project will be an example of that commitment, and we thank Second Nature and the Acceleration Fund for helping us make this project a reality."
This project lays the groundwork for the future while meeting the goals of the University’s Climate Action Plan today, says King. “We can have a climate adapted landscape that is aesthetically pleasing, reduces water, fuel, and chemical use, and fosters pollinator health. This project will be a showcase and source of learning for campus planners and landscapers as well as our students.”