We take our campus trees seriously. They are valuable both environmentally and aesthetically, but they’re at risk because we’re dialing down the irrigation on the lawn around them. To avoid this conundrum teams from the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden’s grounds and landscape services team have started irrigating our younger trees with slow-release watering bags—a fancy description for those big green zippered sacks starting to appear at the base of young trees throughout campus.
Cary Avery, associate director of UC Davis grounds and landscape services, ordered about 240 of these bags and plans to reuse and rotate them throughout campus in an effort to get our trees through the summer while trying to save more water.
“We can’t rely on our sprinkler systems anymore to water our trees, especially since we’re cutting back watering our lawns even more dramatically than last year,” says Avery. “Instead, on young trees—those with trunks about 5 inches or less in diameter—we’re using SaplingSoakers and filling them up manually using our water truck.
Holes in the bottom of the bag allow the water to release slowly, giving the soil around the tree a chance to receive a deep water saturation with every irrigation, explains Avery. That’s what trees need plus, with this method, we see little if any run-off, and don’t lose water due to evaporation.”
Matt Forrest, irrigation supervisor for UC Davis grounds and landscape services estimates that these bags will save an average of at least 1000 gallons of water a year per tree.
“The water savings comes from the fact that we don’t have to water the lawn just to get young trees established,” explains Forrest.
Avery and Forrest know a thing or two about saving water in landscapes. Their teams have already cut back the campus’s utility (landscape) water use by over 30%—well ahead of Governor Brown’s 25% reduction mandate.
We are delighted to honor Alex Stubblefield and Keily Doherty, two remarkable student leaders, with this year’s Pinkerton Prize Endowment for Outstanding Student Contributions (see below for more information). Both women have been with the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden for three years and positively led their teams in creating a wide array of public education programs.
After two years as an Arboretum Ambassador, Alex served as the first student coordinator of the brand new Arboretum GATEways Outreach Program in 2015. Gifted at engaging visitors of all ages and passionate about sustainabilty, Alex led a team of students and volunteers in creating weekend offerings of eco-friendly, hands-on activities for casual visitors called Nature Discovery Days. Alex is a sustainable agriculture and food systems major.
After joining the Arboretum Ambassador environmental leadership internship in 2012, Kiely served as co-coordinator of the program from 2014-15. As a leader, Kiely inspired great enthusiasm, cooperation, and innovation among her team as they developed a broad array of public programs. Kiely is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in environmental science and management.
Congratulations Alex and Keily!
The Pinkerton Prize Endowment for Outstanding Student Contributions was created by Deborah Pinkerton (seen above), who worked as a student employee at the UC Davis Arboretum environmental education from 1979 to 1985. She and her husband, Bret Hewitt, continue to add to this endowment in support of the exceptional students at the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden.
Two staff leaders from the Arboretum and Public Garden were honored on May 14, 2015 for their outstanding achievement in furthering equal opportunity and diversity objectives within the UC Davis community. The Soaring to New Heights Awards celebrate leaders whose work epitomizes the UC Davis Principles of Community.
Cary Avery, Associate Director for our Grounds and Landscape Services division, received a Disability Awareness Award for his efforts to accommodate employees with injuries or disabilities. After working with Cary on multiple occasions, Fredna Karnegas manager from UC Davis Disability Management Services, nominated him for his willingness to make adjustments on behalf of his employees so they could remain in jobs they enjoyed. Cary is a 27-year-long employee at UC Davis who is widely recognized on campus as an exceptional supervisor and mentor.
Elaine Fingerett, Academic Coordinator, received an Individual Award for creating an inclusive, welcoming campus environment through the UC Davis GATEways Initiative’s free public programs. These programs draw thousands of non-traditional learners to campus where they can engage with the rich academic resources of UC Davis while celebrating the nature and culture of Arboretum collections and learning landscapes.
Beyond academic partnerships, Elaine also supervises 12 student interns, the Arboretum Ambassadors, through our Learning by Leading Initiative. She trains students in leadership, multiculturalism, and environmental education, and mentors them to develop team-based projects that celebrate the geographical and cultural diversity of the plant collections. Elaine’s tireless work ethic and passion have resulted in a legacy of unique educational offerings that inspire and invite future generations of learners to connect with UC Davis.
Congratulations to Cary and Elaine on these well-deserved honors!