A Cooperative Effort Between The College of Forest Resources and The Department of Landscape Architecture at Mississippi State University
TABLE OF CONTENTS I. OVERVIEW.......................................................................................2 A. Executive Summary & Project background................2-3 B. The three “H’s”............................................................................3 C. Importance of this wetland to campus........................3-4 II. SITE INVENTORY.........................................................................5 A. How the current wetland came to be..............................5 B. Water sources...........................................................................6 C. Site constraints..........................................................................6 III. SITE ANALYSIS...........................................................................7 A. The future plan of campus and WET...............................7 B. Water quantity and quality goals...................................7-8 IV. PROJECT CONCEPTS AND DESIGN.................................9 A. Mission and concept statements.......................................9 B. Sustainability...........................................................................9-10 C. Materials.......................................................................................10 D. Preservation of current vegetation..................................10 E. Construction impact reduction and use of BMPs.....11 F. Native plant palette..................................................................12 V. DESIGN AESTHETICS..............................................................13 A. Maintaining design integrity and intent.........................13 B. Form and materials................................................................13 VI. COST.............................................................................................14 A. Preliminary cost estimate...................................................14 B. Cost reduction strategies...................................................14 VII. INSTALLATION AND MAINTENANCE..........................15 VIII. MASTER PLAN AND SUPPORT GRAPHICS......16-24 IX. LETTERS OF SUPPORT.................................................25-33
I. OVERVIEW Executive Summary: The Wetland Education Theatre (WET) project endeavors to be functional demonstration wetland and associated upland prairie in the heart of Mississippi State Universityâ€™s campus, located on open land east of Landscape Architecture and to the north of Thompson Hall. The developed site would consist of four water retention cells and a network of walks, trails, and bridges, which would weave through the site and lead to a outdoor classroom (see attached master plan graphic). While the classroom and walkways would serve to educate visitors, retention cells will produce flood mitigation by decreasing runoff as well as improving water quality. Native plantings throughout the site will provide ample opportunity for classes from multiple departments to observe a diverse wetland community in a safe and convenient setting. Onsite retention cells will illustrate how stormwater management can be designed as a facility while maintaining ecological functional integrity. Campus-wide use of best management practices, like the ones employed in WET, would yield great benefits for South Farm and downstream water bodies impacted by campus runoff. This effort is a result of many years of interest in the site, manifesting in a graduate project presented to Dr. Rick Kaminskiâ€™s Wetland Ecology and Management class. Mr. Kenny Langley, graduate student in Landscape Architecture, and Ms. Alicia Wiseman, graduate student in Wildlife & Fisheries, have been the student yeomen of this project. A. Project background The current design iteration of the proposed wetland site stemmed from a final project completed by three graduate students in Dr. Rick Kaminskiâ€™s Wetlands Ecology and Management class in Fall 2006. These three students saw the inherent value in having a functional wetland on the campus of Mississippi State Univeristy. The site was selected for its convenience for landscape architecture and natural resources classes, for its high profile location, and because it had already been a functioning wetland for some time. Years before this project design was conceived, however, landscape architecture faculty had produced several solutions for stormwater flowing around the LA complex, which included this wetland. Many classes from several departments have concentrated on the site for ecological and hydrological studies. In fact, a landscape architecture department-wide design charrette was held in Spring 2007 with this watershed drainage area as the focus.
When the presentation was made for Dr. Kaminski’s class, it was proposed that the idea be presented to then MSU President Dr. Robert Foglesong. The response from the former university president was a clear and resounding “yes.” A meeting was then conducted with university officials to confirm details and identify any constraints. From that point, continuing efforts have been made to move forward on all fronts, and an iterative design process has been underway to optimize use of the space. B. The three “H’s” Each main area of the project will include components in sets of three. These three elements will answer the question, “What is a wetland?” by using the three H’s: hydrology, hydric soils, and hydrophytic plants. At the two main entry points, arcs will create a threshold through which visitors will pass, inviting them to learn about this remarkable natural system. Areas featuring a thee-component design include the entries from Landscape Architecture, Bully Boulevard (the main entry plaza at the corner) and the outdoor classroom. The classroom will also feature educational signage explaining wetland function, prairie ecosystems, and their ecological importance. C. Importance of This Wetland 1. Biology/Ecology This site will be valuable to Agricultural, Biological, and all Natural Resources Sciences and Conservationists, because it will provide them with a living, functioning, natural system that will provide a living laboratory. Testing, analysis, observation, and even class lectures can take place on site. For example, agriculture, biological science, geosciences, entomology, forestry, landscape architecture, and wildlife and fisheries can use the site for lectures and labs that address principles and practices of integrated upland and wetland ecology.
2. College of Forest Resources The College of Forest Resources desires to preserve and develop this wetland into a Wetland Educational Theater. Wetland systems and conservation are important components of the curriculum in this college, and it would be ideal to have access to such a system across the street from Thompson Hall.
3. Agriculture Agriculture and natural resources classes that address integration of conservation practices such as the Conservation Reserve and the Wetlands Reserve Programs; e.g. integrating wetlands with associated restored prairie would benefit from having an example to observe on campus. 4. Landscape Architecture Stormwater management is one of landscape architectureâ€™s primary foci. A wetland system like WET would illustrate how stormwater can be detained, cleaned, and released volumes and dediments reduced. This will lessen the strain on the current drainage system and reduce impacts downstream. Making stormwater an amenity in our own complex will provide an excellent example of how runoff can be properly managed. Combining this function with that of a functional ecology and educational component for the public is at the heart of landscape architectureâ€™s pedagogical paradigm. 5. Horticulture Horticulture classes can visit the site to identify various native plants occurring in hydric (wetland) and mesic (upland prairie) conditions. Native species of plant can be observed and samples taken for ID. 6. Soils and Geosciences One of the most unique characteristics of a wetland is its hydric condition. This includes any soil that has been saturated with water and chemically reduced to the point no dissolved oxygen could reach it. This transforms the color and various chemical characteristics of the soil, making it unique to wetland systems. Again, having this available for observation on campus would be unique. 7. Hydro Engineering/Water quality Engineering classes are dedicated to the management, treatment, and importance of hydrological systems. Having a place to observe the retention and treatment of stormwater nearby would be useful. This system could be modeled and calculations run to find alternative methods for managing stormwater in a similar way. It would also help engineers to see that wetland design can work well in accord with value and function.
II. SITE INVENTORY A. How the current wetland came to be The current wetland began its early succession as soon as the Landscape Architecture complex was completed. As this area became a low, muddy area not conducive to mowing, it was avoided by university grounds maintenance. As the soil in this area became increasingly deprived of oxygen and was almost constantly inundated with water, hydrophytes adapted to these conditions became established. Many of the species found in the wetland are products of windborne seeds that landed directly from breezes or were trapped in the area after floating some distance. Many professors in Thompson Hall and the Landscape Architecture complex have watched as natural plant succession took hold in this wet soil area. Now, the cattails have been shaded out and goldenrod can be found mostly around the perimeter. Black Willows are reaching maturity and Cottonwoods are present. Years from now other species will emerge as part of a natural system. The slope upland from the wetland basin consists mostly of fill dirt and has an acid cap. The pH changes more to neutral and then alkaline as it slopes toward the wetland. This upland slope is currently grassed with Bermuda hybrid grasses and is managed by fertilizer and frequent mowing. Our plan is to create a native prairie contiguous with the wetland.
B. Water sources There are several sources of water flowing to this site. The main source is from west of Landscape Architecture (LA) along a ridge to the south along Sorority Row. Bully Boulevard, and several parking lots are believed to contribute to the main inflow. Most of this main flow falls into a box inlet west of the sidewalk leading from LA to Thompson Hall. It then flows under the sidewalk and into the wetland. Additional inflows exist that include two pipes draining directly from curb inlets along Bully Boulevard. Another major contributor is a pipe responsible for conducting water drained from the parking lot between LA and Ballew Hall from the northwest. According to modeling calculations, the wetland will receive a total of 28,246 cu. ft. (211,280 gallons) during a 1.0 inch rainfall. If a system existed to retain this water and reduce the amount through evapotranspiration, evaporation, infiltration, and reduced impurities, release of water with greatly improved quality would occur. Stormwater drainage totals below are approx. for a 1.0 inch rainfall: Box drain = 23,701 cu. ft. (12.38 cfs) Bully Blvd = 852 cu. ft. Ballew parking = 1,183 cu. ft. Grass/vegetated basin = 2,510 cu. ft. Total = 28,246 cu. ft. C. Site constraints Site constraints include Bully Boulevard and its drain pipes. In designing the wetland improvements, we were careful to not allow water levels to threaten streets by overtopping curbs. Currently, Stone Boulevard floods in heavy rains, and the site enhancements will only help to mitigate flooding. We also used the lowest outfall point of drainage pipes leading from Bully Boulevard as constraints so as not to allow a backup of water, causing s slowing of drainage from roadways. Other constraints include various buried utility lines along Stone Boulevard. These utilities should not be a factor in grading, but the proposed sidewalk along Stone Boulevard will be poured over one or more of these lines. image above from Google Earth 2006
III. SITE ANALYSIS A. Future plan of campus and WET In designing the Wetland Education Theater site, we took the future context of the site into great consideration. According to the University Master Plan found online, the parking lots across Stone Boulevard will be demolished to construct a second quad/drill field opening to the South. These developments will certainly cause an increase in pedestrian traffic to the area. Proposed sidewalks along the eastern and southern edges of the wetland site will help to accommodate this increased circulation. A small entry plaza and overhead structure at the southeast corner will provide an entry to the site from these areas. As conditions currently stand, the proposed walk on the east end of the site would help visiting game fans move more easily from parking areas to Davis Wade Stadium for football games. Pedestrians and automobile occupants alike will be drawn to the site whether they are moving along Bully Boulevard or Stone Boulevards. Individuals traversing the sidewalk along Bully Boulevard will feel welcomed to investigate the site as they will encounter an entrance similar to the main plaza entrance. B. Water quality and quantity goals As we plan to expand the current footprint of the wetland system, this will increase the capacity for stormwater retention. As water is detained, some will be lost to evaporation and some will be lost due to evapotranspiration because of the increased vegetation. While this is occurring, suspended sediments and impurities will settle out of the water and be contained by the wetland. Some impurities will be absorbed by the plants inhabiting the system. Several water control structures located in the water course will serve to retain water until it has reached the top of the structure, at which point it will spill into the next retention basin. Once water has filled all basin zones, it will exit the site to the southeast and enter the established stormwater system, which drains to South Farm. image above from MSUâ€™s website at: http://www.msstate.edu/web/campusplan/2023map.html
As we understand, fishing, farming, research, and other operations on South Farm are regularly threatened by flooding and contamination as a result. WET will help to mitigate against increased runoff volumes to South Farm. This project could be a first step toward a campus-wide grading, drainage, and runoff reduction strategy that employs appropriate best management practices (BMPs) from the low impact development (LID) toolbox. When project construction is complete, we would like to see three real time monitoring stations installed to evaluate water quality entering and exiting the wetland. One station would be installed at the northwest pipe outfall, which would evaluate water quality flushing from the parking lot between Landscape Architecture and Ballew Hall. The second monitoring station would be located at the outfall of the western box drain/culvert to sample water flushing from Bully Boulevard, Sorority Row parking, and grassed swales to the west. The final monitoring station will sample water as it exits the wetland system and will confirm improvements made by the newly installed features. Water quality data will be relayed in real time to a website, where it can be accessed by students and professors. These data can also be used to build a case for improving campus drainage infrastructure to increase capacity, improve quality, and advance aesthetic appeal. The amount of water exiting the wetland system should be greatly reduced due to the increased capacity of the system. Smaller rainfall events should fill one or two basins, while larger events will cause water to spill into all cells. Long periods of heavy rainfall or wet weeks or months will cause some water to exit the system and flow into the campus stormwater system. This will depend on a number of factors including evaporation and infiltration rates. Nonetheless, the total volume of water exiting the system will be greatly reduced. This will depend, of course, on how much water is in the basins to begin with. Capacity for this area will increase from its current volume of only a few hundred cubic feet, which retains much less than is allowed to pass through.
IV. PROJECT CONCEPTS AND DESIGN A. Mission and concepts - This project will provide a convenient and comfortable means for studying wetland and prairie systems on the campus of Mississippi State University. - Students and visitors alike will gain knowledge and understanding of wetland and prairie systems by observing and experiencing both side by side. - WET will exhibit an associated upland prairie ecosystem that will show the transition from hydric to mesic soils and display system edges. - WET will show that stormwater can be used as an amenity and through the use of creative design solutions and knowledge of natural systems, can be used to benefit the entire campus and environment in a number of ways. - In staying in line with the environmental design and natural systems ideals, this site should exhibit a truly sustainable nature from design concepts, to construction practices, to materials, and to maintenance. - WET will provide habitat for native wetland and prairie plants and animals. B. Sustainability The Landscape Architecture complex is the closest building on the MSU campus to a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building. The buildings in this complex include overhangs for passive solar advantage, daylighting of interior spaces, occupancy sensors for artificial lighting, geothermal heating/cooling system, functional screened windows for ventilation, and recycled rubber tire flooring in the studio spaces. It also includes a large, photovoltaic array on the north side, which generates energy to offset part of the complexâ€™s annual use. Components of the WET design will follow in this light.
The educational wetland will serve to educate people about the beauty and functions of wetland systems, but it will also function to reduce stormwater runoff from the LA facility and surrounding sites. This is consistent with the sustainable theme already present at the LA complex and aligns with LEED’s Sustainable Sites prerequisites. It will also fulfill many (if not all) of the benchmarks required for the American Society of Landscape Architects’ Sustainable Sites Initiative, which will come on-line in the near future. A progressive, campus-wide rainwater conservation initiative would also help to make MSU a more environmentally sustainable institution. Rainwater could be harvested for irrigation and toilet use. Stormwater could be handled according to appropriate LID standars, which can be found on the EPA’s website and several other places online. WET could lead the way for further LEED and environmental conservation initiatives on the MSU campus. C. Materials The materials used for the hardscape on the site should be recycled, reclaimed, salvaged, or locally harvested. Retaining walls will be made of concrete recycled from previous use around campus. The boardwalk should be made of long-lasting recycled plastic composite or locally grown wood that has been responsibly harvested and treated. Any lumber used onsite should be certified as sustainably harvested from an organization such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or similar. As few new material components should be used in the construction of this project as possible. Planning should occur ahead of time to eliminate as much waste as possible from design to construction to management. D. Preservation of current vegetation In the development of this project, we feel it is essential to leave the existing wetland vegetation intact as a reminder of the system that has evolved naturally. As the existing vegetation will remain, native plants will be added to accentuate the wetland system. Increased vegetation will also serve to increase wildlife habitat, serve as a subject for class studies, filter impurities from the water, and decrease site runoff. Soil cut and fill will be managed as closely as possible to prevent the need for adding or removing dirt to or from the site. Preliminary calculations show that cut and fill will be equal and no additional fill dirt will be required or excess produced.
E. Construction impact reduction and use of BMPs During construction, we believe it is critical that construction practices adhere to strict guidelines to prevent soil erosion, construction waste, and contamination of the water. - Soil erosion occurring as a result of removal of vegetation should be prevented by using a host of provisions including silt fences, reinforced straw bale fences, and temporary check dams. These BMPs will serve as examples to all who observe the installation process and help mitigate disturbance of the site. - Vegetation (mostly sod/turf) should be removed in phases as upland prairie plantings are installed to minimize erosion - Heavy machinery and vehicular traffic will be kept clear of root zones of mature trees in the area to avoid soil compaction and specimen damage. - Material wastes should be kept from entering the water and should be managed for containment and removal from the site upon completion. - If possible, the water exiting the site should be monitored for quality control and reporting during construction. - Classes in Construction Management and Landscape Contracting may participate by developing a construction BMP strategy. They may serve as observers and enforcers of the strategy during the construction process. - Every effort should be made to order construction materials in a way that reduces waste and transport distance. Companies located in Mississippi should be given preference in all cases. Excess materials left over from construction should be sold, donated, or reused.
picture above from: http://wlapwww.gov.bc.ca/vir/pa/images/bmp_march12.jpg
F. Native plant pallet All plants used in the proposed alteration of this site will be native to the region and appropriate to the zones designated for installation. Non-native or noxious invasive species will be managed or eliminated using environmentally sensitive practices. Possible native plants for incorporation into WET include:
Millett or Barnyard grass
Water oak Willow oak
V. DESIGN AESTHETICS A. Maintaining design integrity and intent Throughout construction and installation of the various components for this design, any changes must be approved by officials of the Landscape Architecture Department and College of Forest Resources. We feel that efforts to reduce cost may result in the degradation of quality. We believe that efforts to reduce cost may result in the degradation of project quality. For this reason, several cost reduction strategies have been inlcuded on page 14. B. Form and materials While some believe masterful design is exhibited by showing dominance over and manipulation of the landscape, we disagree. We believe the success of a design should be measured, in part, by how well it blends into the site. In the case of this environmentally centered design, all components were considered for appropriateness to the natural system, and context in terms of existing surrounding architecture. For this reason, we believe a curvilinear design is appropriate, using long serpentine lines to imitate meandering riverine wetlands. Rustic materials will be used on site including wood, tin, copper, and stone. While rustic, the structures in the design will present with clean lines, picking up on the repetitive linear nature of Thompson Hall and Landscape Architecture. Ceiling fans and lights in the classroom will be powered by a photovoltaic array placed on a portion of the structure. Lighting trails, walks and bridges will be accomplished by bollards and lamps, which will feature lowwattage (to reduce light pollution and energy costs) down-lit style. If lighting is not to be used, this site could officially close at sundown.
VI. COST Because of the uniqueness and complexity of WET, its creation by vendors is estimated to cost $550,000.00. While WET may seem expensive, interior clasroom spaces range from $150 - $300+ per square foot compared to $100 per square foot for the WET classroom. Possible cost reductions are provided in VI. B. A. Preliminary costing of this project is as follows: Outdoor classroom A $300,000.00 ($100/sq. ft. x 3,000 sq. ft) Outdoor classroom B $150,000.00 ($100/sq. ft. x 1,500 sq. ft.) Outdoor classroom C $70,000.00 ($100/sq. ft. x 700 sq. ft.)
Grading/dirtwork Bridge/walk constr. Plantings
$150,000.00 $75,000.00 $25,000.00
B. Cost reduction possibilities i. Donated or test materials (e.g. Forest Products) ii. In-house grading (College of Forest Resources) iii. Reduction in size of design components iv. In-house installation of plantings (student volunteers from Wildlife and Fisheries and Landscape Architecture) v. Donated or at cost plant materials vi. Contributions from departments or MSU vii. Other alternatives
VII. PLANT MATERIAL INSTALLATION & MAINTENANCE The majority of plant material installation to occur at the WET site will be done by students in the College of Forest Resources and the Department of Landscape Architecture as directed by faculty. While most wetland plantings will be obtained from vendors through purchase or donation, pairie plantings and a few hydrophytes will be obtained from local seed banks, or specimens will be transplanted as is deemed necessary and appropriate. As areas of sod are removed and necessary soil amendments are made, seeds from appropriate species at the Noxubee Wildlife Refuge and Osborn Prairie will be collected and planted. Once the vegetation in the wetland and associated upland prairie are well established, a maintenance schedule will be devised to divide necessary labor among participating parties. With six or more professors included in this partnership, it should be possible for three classes per year to visit the site for maintenance. With six partner members, this would only require a professorâ€™s class involvement once every other year. This would include combing the area and eliminating unwanted species, providing necessary soil amendments, and planting as needed. Campus landscape would only be responsible for two separate tasks in this siteâ€™s maintenance. The first would be to maintain the perimeter where sod exists near sidewalks. The second would be to provide mechanical disturbance as scheduled. This would include bush hogging/mowing vegetation in some areas twice per year, once per year, or every other year, depending on the designed buffer area. The closer to the wetland, the less disturbance will be required. Upland prairie areas may require annual disturbance.
picture above from: http://mississippientomologicalmuseum.org.msstate.edu/habitats/black.belt.prairie/BlackBeltPrairie.htm
G R A D I N G
P L A N
M A S T E R
P L A N
Right: A view of the proposed WET site from above the Landscape Architecture complex (looking southeast)
Left: a view of the proposed WET site from the corner of Stone and Bully Boulevards (looking northwest). This would serve as the main entry to the site by providing a grand entry plaza with overhead arcs.
Above are additional perspective views of the WET site.
C L A S S R O O M
Classroom A: - largest structure with 3,000 square feet - handicap accessible - seating for 35+ - educational signage - ceiling fans & lights - water sampling platform - covered bat or martin house - standing seam metal or tin roof - arc wall for educational information - planters in and on structure for vegetation - situated near surface of water - designed by Balin Ozcan * no scale on images
B C L A S S R O O M
Classroom B: - mid-sized classroom at 1,500 square feet - handicap accessible - seating for 25+ - educational signage - ceiling fans & lights - standing seam metal or tin roof - photovoltaic array collects energy needed to power fans and lights - covered educational information wall - situated near surface of water * no scale on images
C L A S S R O O M
Classroom C: - smallest structure with 700 square feet - handicap accessible - seating for 15+ - educational signage - standing seam or metal tin roof - 3-part overhead entry - situated well above surface of water * no scale on images
SIGNAGE & LIGHTING
Above are examples of light fixtures and sign styles that could be used at the WET site. We would like signage to be unique, colorful, and possibly interactive, with pages or boards that can flip or slide to reveal more information.
O TH E R
E L EM E N T S
LETTERS OF SUPPORT
LETTERS OF SUPPORT
LETTERS OF SUPPORT
October 20, 2008 To Whom It May Concern: The importance of sustainability and green infrastructures to maintain and enhance healthy environments and habitats are gaining more traction among the public and institutions of higher learning. It is especially important for educational programs such as landscape architecture, forestry, wildlife and fisheries to expose their students as well as the public at large to best examples of green infrastructure and other sustainable applications such as man-made wetlands near the brick and mortar classrooms. Having access to an outdoor classroom where education may take place within the example of best management practices being taught is invaluable for all stake holders including but not limited to students, faculty for teaching and research, to public at large for environmental education. Mississippi State University as the leading university of the State of Mississippi offers all of the disciplines that provide such education and practices. These include Landscape Architecture majors, Forestry majors (Environmental Conservation, Concentration, Forest Management Concentration, Urban Forestry Concentration, Wildlife Management Concentration), Wildlife and fisheries majors (Wildlife and Fisheries Major, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science Concentration, Wildlife Law Enforcement Concentration, Wildlife Science Concentration). All of these disciplines would benefit form having an on-campus outdoor classroom that offers them with the opportunities to study man-made wetlands and its habitats. We have collectively identified such opportunity that may be realized with your help. We would like to call it “The Project Wet – A Wetlands Education Center.” We strongly believe that when realized this project not only will provide invaluable educational opportunities for our students, faculty, and the public, but also will be a destination for all campus visitors based on unique passive recreation and leisure activities that it may offer. This is to confirm that on behalf of the student and faculty of the Department of Landscape Architecture, I fully support the vision of establishing a wetlands education theater. I hope you can help and join us toward realization of this vision and worthy endeavor. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions in this matter. Sincerely,
Sadık C. Artunç SADIK C. ARTUNÇ, FASLA Professor and Head Department of Landscape Architecture College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Mississippi State University, MS 39762 Mail Stop 9725 Phone (662) 325-7894 – Fax (662) 325-7893 Fax – email@example.com
LETTERS OF SUPPORT
Department of Landscape Architecture College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Mississippi State University
LETTERS OF SUPPORT
LETTERS OF SUPPORT
LETTERS OF SUPPORT
Department of Biological Sciences 114 Harned Hall 295 Lee Boulevard, P.O. Box GY Mississippi State, MS 39762 Phone: 662.325.3120 FAX: 662.325.7939
30 September 2008 Mr. Kenneth Langley Department of Landscape Architecture Mississippi State University, MS 39762 Dear Kenny: I am writing in support of the educational wetland and outdoor classroom project on which you have been working. I am very pleased to hear that this project remains a possibility for our campus, and I am equally happy to lend my enthusiastic support to the effort. I teach Plant Ecology and Aquatic Botany here at MSU, each of which has a practical laboratory component focused on basic field ecology. Because the Plant Ecology class is relatively large (~50 students each year), I try to conduct laboratory exercises here on campus. However, we increasingly run into difficulties with this approach as the campus struggles to accommodate a growing student body and semi-natural areas on the campus periphery are consumed by infrastructure development plans. Having a dedicated demonstration site on campus would help immensely to provide those students with access to a site where they could collect data while they learn about the processes of natural ecosystem conservation and restoration. My Aquatic Botany classes would benefit even more directly from this resource by having access to the outdoor classroom in an immersive learning environment surrounding by the subject matter. I can clearly envision long-term laboratory activities that could take advantage of the site and might even provide data that would benefit other groups making use of the facility. Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance and if you would like more detailed information about the courses I teach or how I might use the outdoor educational facilities.
Gary N. Ervin Associate Professor of Biological Sciences and Graduate Coordinator
Dr. Gary N. Ervin Associate Professor and Graduate Coordinator
Room A212, HPCC #2 Research Blvd
Department of Biological Sciences
October 13, 2008 Department of Landscape Architecture Mississippi State University Mississippi State, MS 39762 To Whom It May Concern: I am writing to you in support of the proposed Wetland Education Theatre (W.E.T.) on the campus of MSU. I believe the construction of an outdoor classroom associated with this project will provide many educational opportunities for MSU students and the community. I am particularly excited about the potential use of this resource in my Taxonomy of Spermatophytes course (~ 45 students per year). This class introduces students to plant communities and teaches them to identify Southeastern plants. Many of the labs involve field trips to areas on North and South Farms and the Noxubee Wildlife Refuge. The proposed outdoor classroom would provide another easily accessible field resource that students could study outside of class. I am also interested in exposing these students to the development and maintenance of the wetland and prairie habitats as an example of the ecological processes responsible for plant diversity. I attended Ohio State University during my doctoral studies. A restored wetland had been created on an area of campus near the Olentangy River. In a course I taught at OSU that is very similar to Taxonomy of Spermatophytes, we made use of this wetland a great deal for students to learn how to identify native species that make up natural wetlands of that region. Additionally, students were able to document the change in species composition over the course of the class in addition to learning. Based on my past experience with this artificially created system, I believe the W.E.T. could be a valuable resource for those students who are studying biology in our department and other departments across campus. Let me know if you would like further details regarding my course content or interest in the project. Sincerely,
Lisa Wallace, Ph.D.
Dr. Lisa Wallace, Assistant Professor 662-325-7575 firstname.lastname@example.org
LETTERS OF SUPPORT
114 Harned Hall 295 Lee Boulevard, P.O. Box GY Mississippi State, MS 39762 Phone: 662-325-3120 FAX: 662-325-7939
LETTERS OF SUPPORT
This CD includes: - a .pdf of this booklet - the PowerPoint presentation seen on November 21st at MSU - the WET site video