(Excerpted from UC Davis Dateline article
“CLASS ART: Sustainable birdhouses and site-specific installations”)
As the result of a collaboration between the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden and the UC Davis Department of Design, the arboretum and other parts of the Davis campus will become student galleries for Ann Savageau’s “Sustainable Design” class.
The students worked in two-person teams to create 38 birdhouses, using “upcycled” materials (saved from the landfill) and incorporating simulated features of sustainability, such as solar panels, rainwater catchment, and living roofs and walls. To identify the species of birds that would benefit from the birdhouses, the design students consulted with student organization Wild Campus who suggested their target “audience” would be western bluebirds (Sialia Mexicana), tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor), ash-throated flycatchers (Myiarchus cinerascens) and house wrens (Troglodytes aedon).
“Human encroachment is resulting in many animal species losing essential nesting and foraging sites,” Savageau wrote in her assignment. “Designers have a responsibility to use their talent and training to help restore the Earth’s ecosystem.”
TAKE A TOUR OF THE BIRDHOUSES!
Look for them on light poles throughout the Quad area and around Lake Spafford through the week of January 6, 2014.
For about five years a large portion of the Mrak Hall Circle landscape sat barren—a large patch of mulch under and around a heritage cork oak tree—next to two mounds of the manicured lawn that is home to Robert Arneson’s egghead sculpture entitled, “Speak no evil, hear no evil.” That all changed on October 30, 2013 when volunteers from the UC Davis Offices of the Chancellor and Provost gathered to landscape the area with staff from the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden.
Months prior to this community planting, Arboretum and Public Garden team members together with landscape architects from our Campus Planning and Landscape Architecture department, designed the landscape, prepped the area for a new irrigation system, worked with staff, students, and volunteers to install it, and collaborated with a campus landscape architecture instructor to incorporate the project into her class curriculum. CLICK HERE to see photos from this process.
This relatively small campus improvement is a great example of the how, no matter the size, team members from the Arboretum and Public Garden are harnessing the power of collaboration and co-creation to improve our campus; we are educating and engaging our students and community, while simultaneously developing stakeholders that care about the future of UC Davis.
On October 17, the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden hosted a California Native Plant Garden “Sneak Preview” for our Downtown Davis Parkway Greening Project partners, donors, and upper-level Friends of the UC Davis Arboretum members.
The event, with catering generously donated by Whole Foods Market, included a behind-the-scenes tour highlighting the project’s improved connections between campus and downtown Davis as part of the City/Arts GATEway, how the landscape will connect people to the natural history of the region, serve as a learning laboratory for UC Davis students, and showcase sustainable solutions for stormwater management.
All the speakers featured in the brief program highlighted the positive partnership between the City of Davis and campus with Davis City Council Member Lucas Frerichs, UC Davis Vice Chancellor John Meyer, and Assistant Vice Chancellor and Arboretum and Public Garden Director Kathleen Socolofsky, all predicting that the town-gown collaboration on this project was “just the beginning.”
Also noted were the key players from the campus and city—Emily Griswold, director of the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden GATEways horticulture and teaching gardens, and Ann Burnette, city planner—who worked together see the vision of this university and community resource become a reality.
“Shovel Gateway” artist Chris Fennell charmed the audience when he disclosed his uncertainty that he would be supplied enough used shovels to complete the landmark entry feature, revealed his delight at the overwhelming response, and expressed his appreciation for the community’s interest in his work
Keep reading this blog for updates on this project and other UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden news. Sign-up to receive our e-newsletter here.