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UMBC Earns Green Grounds Certification

Recognized for reducing pesticide use

University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) received the Green Grounds Certificationat the Bronze Level, awarded by advocacy group Re:wild Your Campus. This new certification recognizes campuses that are eliminating the use of toxic pesticides, increasing organic land care, fostering biodiversity and promoting soil health. 

"We created the Green Grounds Certification to incentivize schools to protect both the workers and student populations and highlight their commitment to biodiversity, proving that managing grounds without chemicals is practical and achievable," said Mackenzie Feldman, project director of Re:wild Your Campus. "We are working with schools across the nation to close the knowledge gap that exists when it comes to organic land care principles and implementation. This certification will help us recognize the work being done on these campuses and beyond to ditch the toxins and go organic."

Currently 62% of the UMBC campus is managed without toxic pesticides like glyphosate. Instead, the campus is working to implement an integrated pest management program, encourage biodiversity, promote soil health, and use organic fertilizers. 

"We are extremely proud to be recognized for the great work being done on our campus to support local ecosystem services.  It is a testament to our fantastic landscaping team, and the important work they are doing to manage our grounds in an environmentally conscious way" said Taylor Smith, Assistant Director of Sustainability at UMBC. "Our students have shared their aspirations for the UMBC campus to be a healthy ecosystem in the Arbutus community.  This certification is an important first step, but we plan to continue enhancing the native environments on our campus through expansion of our tree canopy, wild areas, and restored streams."

The Green Grounds Certification has four levels. To receive certification, Bronze level schools must manage 50% of the campus managed area without synthetic pesticides, Silver level schools must manage 70% of the campus managed area without synthetic pesticides, and Gold level schools must manage 90% of the campus managed area without synthetic pesticides. Platinum level schools must manage 100% of the campus managed area without synthetic pesticides. Campuses must also meet other requirements which include submitting pesticide usage reports, notifying the campus community when pesticides are used and replacing fossil fuel-powered campus maintenance equipment with electric ones. The certification is currently available for institutions of education, including k-12 schools, but Re:wild Your Campus plans to expand into certifying hospitals, corporate campuses, hotels, places of worship, and beyond. 

Posted: March 5, 2024, 1:48 PM