Western Kentucky University

Updates/Special Projects


Landscaping design for water basin and bioswale

This represents the preliminary design for landscaping at Durbin. The plan created will emphasize water filtration and absorption as well as habitat creation and low maintenance.  The stream bed and basin area will feature a rush and sedge mix that is evergreen and more rigid, to slow water flow and encourage filtration. The bio-filtration basin will be planted in bald cypress, selected because each tree absorbs hundreds of gallons of water per day, and they grow well both in standing water and are drought tolerant; also, their leaves do not create a lot of biomass. Tree plantings in other areas were selected to build habitat, including oaks and persimmons–which also can withstand standing water.  White pines will be planted along the stream bed and back property trail, as a screen and to provide food for wildlife. Rain garden areas that feature a wetland/wildflower mix will be planted around the injection wells and on the slopes near to housing areas. A tall prairie mix is recommended for areas away from the detention basin and houses; a benefit is the sound absorption capabilities of tall grasses. An area will be reserved for eventual planting of an orchard, after people have moved to the site and there is a maintenance plan. No shrubs are included due to having no added benefit and their high maintenance. The property will be seeded initially with oats to stabilize the soil and planting will occur in early spring. Invasive plants will be cleared and prohibited from being planted on the property in the future.


Rain Barrel Project (more information)

The Center for Environmental Education & Sustainability and Bowling Green Independent Schools are partnering to facilitate rain barrel construction workshops with families living in the Dishman-McGinnis school district. The purpose of this workshop is to send participating families home with a rain barrel that can be installed at their home. Center staff, along with other partners from the Bowling Green community, guide the families through the process of making their own rain barrel during the workshop.

A workshop was held in March, 2012 for twenty families living in the Dishman-McGinnis school district. The students who attend will be among the first ones to attend the new Dishman-McGinnis school when construction is complete in the fall of 2014. The site of the new school building is just across Glen Lily from the Durbin Estates property, so some of the families in the current school district will potentially be future Durbin Estates residents.


Vernal Pond Installation (more information)

After more than a year of planning, on Aug.3, 2011, ground was broken at Durbin Estates with the installation of a vernal pond. Tom Biebighauser, a wildlife biologist for the U.S. Forest Service and an expert on wetlands and stream restoration, led a very skilled track hoe operator from Scott and Ritter, Inc., and a team of volunteers through the process of installing a vernal pond on a section of the Durbin property.

The vernal pond at Durbin will be an interesting feature for community residents that adds habitat for plants and animals. It will also serve as a natural habitat learning facility for area schools, and in particular, for the new Dishman-McGinnis school being built at the former LC Curry school site.

Vernal ponds are seasonal wetlands that are covered by shallow water during the wetter part of the year. Climatic changes associated with the seasons cause changes in the appearance of and the flora and fauna associated with vernal ponds throughout the year. A variety of bird life are attracted to the pools which are used as a seasonal source of food and water.

For more information about the vernal pond installation and photos see the press release here.

Pictures where taken by Patricia Sowell. She composed a presentation using ProShow Gold. For a five minute presentation of the installation of the vernal pond click here.


Tree Planting Project (more information)

On Friday, November 30, 2012 twenty-three people showed up to roll up their sleeves and voluntarily get dirty in order to plant ninety (90) trees at the WKU-Habitat for Humanity (HFH) Durbin Project. The trees included forty (40) Bald Cypress, planted in the bio-infiltration basin, and fifty (50) White Pines, to serve as a green "fence" for one of the community walking trails. The Bald Cypress trees were selected for their ability to absorb 100 gallons of water per day per tree and to filter out pollutants; the White Pines were selected as a visual screen and to add habitat for birds and wildlife.

The volunteers included friends and staff of WKU and HFH, and community members who wanted to help.  The day before, the tree holes were pre-drilled, which made it possible to plant and mulch all ninety trees in record time. Within two hours we were celebrating our accomplishment and packing up.  Thanks to all who came for their involvement and helping to make the day a great success!! For photos, click here or go to our WKU-HFH 319(H) Durbin Project Facebook Page.


Plugs Planted in Drainage Channel  (more information)

On Monday, June 3 the Durbin site team was finally able to hold a Plugs Planting Day. These are small settings of sedges and rushes that were planted along the major Durbin site drainage channel to stabilize the banks and slow flow in rain events. The event was originally planned for mid-May but the cool spring resulted in the plugs not growing to size; it was then scheduled for Saturday, June 1 but was rained out as the first picture shows. On Monday, June 3, two employees from Roundstone Native Seed joined five others adults and three youths to plant 7,500 plugs. It was a Herculean effort!! Thanks to all involved.

 

 

 

 

 

image of landscaping design for water basin, bio-retention swell                    For larger view of map, click map.

 

 

 

 

 

student cutting hole in rain barrel

 

 

 

excavator covering pond liner with soil
vernal pond with water

 

 

team work mulching tree

40 bald cypress trees planted

 

grass plugs

 


 

 

 


 

 

 

 


 

 

 Last Modified 8/28/13