Durango Telegraph - Natural landscaping 101
Natural landscaping 101

The track record for natural and chemical-free parks is improving all over the country. Among the most notable efforts was Harvard University’s commitment in 2009 to manage its entire 80-acre campus with organic land management strategies. The experiment is not only promising healthier outdoor spaces at Harvard it is saving tens of thousands of dollars a year.

Harvard’s path to chemical freedom started with a one-acre test plot. During a multi-year study, the plot was compared with a conventionally managed area. Root measurements were taken bi-weekly, and in the end the organic plot demonstrated greater vitality of the turf and trees, higher soil nutrition and a reduced need for irrigation.

Nearly 30 acres of the Harvard campus are now being managed naturally, and the university has committed to phasing over the entire campus in coming years. A recent article in the New York Times noted that Harvard expects the new approach to save two million gallons of water per year, cut $10,000 in chemical fertilizer costs and save $35,000 in waste disposal of organics that are now being composted.

– Will Sands

In this week's issue...

May 2, 2019
In the flow

Rafting season is already under way on the Animas River, which has been flowing at near record levels and almost double the average rate for this time of year.

April 25, 2019
Laying down the law

Over the past couple decades, Jeff Robbins’ work as an  oil and gas lawyer – with a specific focus on serving local communities – allowed him to build relationships and gain the experience needed to carry out one of Colorado’s most sweeping reforms to oil and gas regulations, Senate Bill 181. 

April 18, 2019
A new kind of cold war

It’s a good thing Heidi Steltzer can’t tolerate the heat or the open ocean. “I thought I wanted to be a marine biologist, and I got seasick,” said Steltzer, a professor in the Biology Department and Environmental Science program at Fort Lewis College.