The first native species garden on campus was established in 2000 by students in the Botany class. Several additional gardens have been established either through the Student Campus Greening Fund (SCGF), or through service learning projects by students and faculty. These include gardens with plants from the Northern Hardwood Forest on the north side of Ackley Hall and next to Waldron Athletic Center; plants from forest openings on the western side of Pollock Hall; and plants of early succession and a medicinal garden on the south side of Ackley.
In 2010 the college adopted its Native Species Landscaping Policy. The rationale for the policy was based on applications of plant conservation biology in the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, the North American Botanic Garden Strategy for Plant Conservation, and similar guidelines, and a review of policies and approaches at other colleges and universities (Gowdy and Graves 2010).
Landscaping with native species is a sustainable land management practice, as identified by AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System (STARS), and it helps to reduce GMC’s carbon footprint. Practicing native species landscaping promotes GMC as a leader in sustainable and conservation practices, while also increasing biodiversity, habitat, and ecosystem health.