On Wednesday, January 29th, I attended the Eco-Corridor Mini Symposium, which was a presentation of the senior capstone projects of several Environmental Studies and Geography majors followed by breakout discussion groups. If you don’t know, the Eco-Corridor/Gambles Mill Corridor is the patch of land behind the Print Shop that the Office for Sustainability has been working on for the last year. It was often used as a running path and there were a few community gardens in the middle, but nothing significant had been done with it. Hearing these projects were especially relevant for me, because the spring project for my SSIR is to present proposals for more projects for the Eco-Corridor. The projects presented ranged from introducing a freshwater mussel population to regulate the water quality of Westham Creek which runs through the Corridor, to taking drone images of the land before and after construction to use for advertising and possibly to create LIDAR data. My group is focused on the physical restoration of the area. Our project idea right now is to 3D print a topographical map of the Corridor to put at the entrance. Some other group’s ideas are a pollinator meadow (which is actually already in effect), a farmer’s market/5k to achieve community outreach, and signage throughout the Corridor.
I’m very excited for the official opening on Earth Day, because the purpose of the Eco-Corridor is so students can have an outdoor/green space to retreat to on campus. There will be a newly renovated path that leads right to the river (which I think a lot of students miss out on), outdoor classrooms, community gardens, picnic tables, and an area by the creek called Little Westham Beach for general recreational use. Although the Office for Sustainability is the main driver behind this project, many of the ideas and actions came from students. It gives me some hope that the University sees value in spaces that are created by and for students.