I hope readers recall that we recently announced Sweet Briar’s conversion to “green” electricity. As legions of students, faculty, alumnae, and neighbors will attest, one of the truly special aspects of the Sweet Briar experience is the expansive and lovely environment we enjoy here in the foothills of the Blue Ridge. We are proud of being good stewards of that legacy. Today I’d like to share news of another important environmental-stewardship initiative. I’ll quote a message Vice President Scott Shank recently circulated:
“It is with great pleasure that I announce Sweet Briar has taken another step in our environmental stewardship. The College has entered into an agreement with FDC Enterprises Grassland Services to convert approximately 250 acres of our current hayfields to native warm season grasses with perennial borders. The grasses will be sold as biofuel, and the borders will become pollinator habitat. In addition to the extra income the College will earn from the sale of the grass for biofuel, the project has the potential to provide substantial educational opportunities for us in the areas of biology, chemistry, environmental studies, engineering and perhaps others. . .”
This initiative was planned in consultation with the Campus Environment Committee, and the fields selected for use were identified after careful consideration of the needs of the riding program, ongoing research projects, campus aesthetics, and recreational uses.
It’s the best kind of project. It supports our educational mission by connecting us with larger research initiatives and providing opportunities for research and teaching right here on campus. It allows us to realize increased income from the land through the sale of grass for biofuel. And it expresses our ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship.
It does mean that if you visit campus in the late summer or early fall you may notice a changed appearance in some fields; I think the perennial borders and tall grasses will be quite lovely. . .