By Sibila Patsy
The RU Schaumburg campus was awarded the 2017 Annual Landscape Award by the Village of Schaumburg. It spans 27 acres and was designed to preserve natural vegetation.
This effort was noticed by the official board of Schaumburg. which nominated the college grounds area for the 2017 Annual Landscape Award. The winners were announced on January 9. The Schaumburg campus won in the Best Natural Landscaping category.
Sponsored by the village’s Environmental Committee, the Village of Schaumburg Annual Landscape Award program was established in 2005. There were no nominees in 2016 in the Best Natural Landscaping category where Roosevelt University excelled.
“This recognition is given to businesses and multi-family residential establishments, not to single-family home owners,” said village of Schaumburg landscape and sustainability planner Martha Dooley.
Dooley said that the Environmental Committee was impressed with the community space created at Savannah Trace Planned Unit Development, which was transformed from a tennis court that was no longer used into an open space and a dog park.
RU’s long-running sustainability and development efforts at the Schaumburg campus has garnered a long list of other awards similar to the one received in January. The project geared towards preserving the environment started in 2010. Before the university bought the land and the adjacent building in 1996, this was home of Pure Oil, a flagship petroleum company. The landscape the latter kept was mostly turf grass.
“Out of the 27 acres Roosevelt has in Schaumburg, 13.5 are grass landscape and eight of those have been converted to natural grass and native prairie to help preserve the life of other original plant, insect and bird species,” said Charles Granberg, chief engineer of the Schaumburg campus.
“The whole design of the campus landscape is created to increase the biodiversity and to support the native varieties on site,” said Bill Bedrossian, owner of Bedrock Earthscape, the company that Roosevelt partners with in this project.
Bedrock Earthscape helps with the design, installation, and maintenance of the landscape.
“This takes a lot of effort. It includes weeding, collecting of the native plant seeds and redistributing them. In the spring, we perform controlled burns,” said Bedrossian. In addition to the prairie, walking paths through native plants and other floral collections were also created.
“We do not plan to expand the acreage of the prairie, it took us couple years to shape it, we need to keep the maintaining activities to sustain all that we’ve created,” said Granberg.
Besides the natural grass, the RU campus in Schaumburg offers a butterfly garden, rain garden and a community vegetable garden. Not many people know that the pharmacy department uses its own medicinal garden where the students grow plants that can be used for the production of numerous medications.
To add a color to all this greenery, the landscape experts incorporated planting wildlife flowers. “We have 40-50 variety of flowers,” Bedrossian said. This attracts other wildlife species like the bumble bee, the Canada goose or the American robin. It is not surprising that Roosevelt earned recognition for the restoration of the natural habitat by the National Federation of Wildlife. That is not all. In 2012 the Conservation Foundation awarded the Schaumburg branch with a Conservation Work Award.
Sustainable elements are also included into the irrigation system of the Schaumburg campus. In 2013 permeable pavers have been installed that ensure improved water infiltration and reduced runoff. A year later a drip irrigation was added in use at the community garden.
“There is no plan to do any work on the building itself,” Charles Granberg said.
Elegance, modernity and natural beauty are the words to describe the overall view of the Schaumburg study premises, the architectural design and the landscaping plan.