Sustainability with Windmill Garden project lead

Brandon Donner, Managing Editor

Connie Koval, North Texas Chapter master naturalist and Windmill Garden project lead, talks sustainability in 2022, the importance of student involvement and how anyone can help achieve with sustainability goals.

Q: What does sustainability look like in 2022?

Sustainability in 2022 is the beneficial management of our natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance. Planting native rather than exotic plants, reducing the use of water and using organic, sustainable gardening methods rather than harmful insecticides all help restore that balance.

Q: How important is sustainability for our future?

Sustainability is vital for our future. If we all help to restore that ecological balance, we can improve quality of life and preserve resources for future generations. Protecting our natural environment from the threat of devastating effects of unchecked climate change is essential.

Q: What is Brookhaven doing to become more sustainable?

Brookhaven created a native plant garden to benefit pollinators several years ago, supported by the North Texas Chapter Texas Master Naturalists, the student Green Team and the campus sustainability department.

This garden meets two needs: providing a demonstration site to teach about native ecosystems and contributing to pollinator habitat. The use of mulch created by the maintenance department, vegetation collected from campus kitchens used in compost, and collection of rainwater in the garden are just some of the sustainability practices of Brookhaven Campus.

Q: What’s something someone can do to start helping today?

Today, it’s as easy as planting drought tolerant or resistant native plants to support local wildlife – butterflies, bees, birds, etc. Create a pocket pollinator garden on your porch, balcony, garden bed or yard. Even a small garden truly helps. Visit the Brookhaven Windmill Garden for inspiration.

Q: Where can a student get involved at Brookhaven?

Students can volunteer to work in the garden during NTMN workdays to eliminate invasive plants, control aggressive plants, learn about the benefit of native plants and pollinators, and take that knowledge home and into their community.

Q: Any updates about the Windmill Garden that we should share?

In 2021, the ceramics department student artists created sculptures that were installed in the garden. Many of these capture and hold water essential to our native bees. We continue to enhance the diversity of plants for a variety of colors and to support local wildlife through the seasons. Community education events are held periodically at the pavilion in the garden, and experts in plants, insects and birds are available to answer questions.

For more information, contact North Texas Master Naturalists at [email protected] or visit