Increasing Biodiversity through Low-Mow Initiative

Efforts to conserve resources and finances often also result in environmental benefits. Horticulture and Grounds found this to be true when they reduced the mowing of certain areas.

An area of 7 acres located behind the president’s and provost’s houses on Mt. Hope Avenue (pictured above) was previously mowed weekly. However, grounds management saw an opportunity to save labor and resources by mowing only a walking path, rather than the entire area. The low-mow area has begun to fill in naturally, creating a more biodiverse fauna and ecosystem. Manager John McIntyre explains, “We have noticed the wildlife already moving in. The fields are starting to flutter with insects and birds.” Sarah Mangelsdorf and Robert Clark are both fully supportive of this initiative happening on the property. The same has also been done at an area at the bottom of McClean Street.

The result of low-mowing saves:

  • 210 hours in annual labor
  • 346 gallons of fuel
  • $1,040 on fuel cost

In addition, the emissions removed for every hour includes:

  • 85 pounds of Carbon  Dioxide*CO2
  • 73 grams Hydrocarbons + Nitrous Oxides HC+Nox (Smog)
  • 3800 pounds Carbon Monoxide Carbon Monoxide CO


In addition to this project, Horticulture and Grounds is involved in other initiatives that benefit the natural ecosystem. The department recycles 100-200 tons of tree branches into wood chips annually and makes approximately 80 yards of compost per year by rotating piles of leaves.

The department has also made efforts to switch to battery operated equipment. Since we last highlighted these initiatives, fuel powered equipment that is old and non-operable is being replaced with battery powered equipment. Another set of hand sheers, one chainsaw and two hand blowers have been added.

For more information about Horticulture and Grounds, please visit


2 Replies to “Increasing Biodiversity through Low-Mow Initiative”

  1. This is excellent news..congratulations!!

    My one concern was that last year, when I was on my walk in the neighborhood (I am a neighbor), a groundsman was spraying Roundup on the sidewalk up to one of your properites…and he wasn’t wearing any protection. I hope with your green initiative that you no longer use Roundup.

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