Student Response Prompts Removal of Montgomery Hall’s Naturalized Area

The overgrown grassy area located along the path of Montgomery Hall was removed in response to students’ petition in the beginning of this semester as quickly as it had sprouted up.

“The wild growth area between Montgomery Hall and the bell tower is a place where students used to sit to enjoy nice weather, and frankly, it interrupts the aesthetic appeal of the rest of that area,” said Junior Madeline Montgomery, which was what a majority of the student population felt.

These grassy areas, also known as the naturalized areas or meadows, have several benefits for the environment. They can be found by Mattapany Road, the Library, St. John’s Pond, and in several other areas.

According to Superintendent of Grounds and Maintenance, Kevin Mercer, they serve to reduce water shedding, carbon foot-printing, budget and labor cost while protecting and nourishing the wildlife.

They were created simply by let the grass grow out and just as easily cut down. Student Trustee Danny Ruthenberg-Marshall, in collaboration with the Sustainability Committee, Associate Vice President of Planning and Facilities, Chip Jackson, and Mercer were responsible for the removal of Monty’s meadow. Faculty, staff, and alumni thoughts were also included in the decision.

According to Ruthenberg-Marshall, Monty’s meadow only accounted for less than two percent out of the total meadows on campus. Ruthenberg-Marshall presented the students’ complaints and petitions to get it removed during a sustainability committee meeting. He said, “I heard from a lot of students that it was an eye sore, and that it was getting in the way of people walking across the hill by Monty.”

After Jackson and Mercer were notified of this issue, they took immediate action. When Mercer was asked what prompted the quick response, he said, “We wanted to move on it quickly since there was no wildlife nested in this area and wanted to show the SMCM students that their voices were heard.”

Likewise, Jackson was asked about his thoughts concerning the removal of the meadows. He described the planning process as something that ideally would have been perfect, but unfortunately there were a few mistakes along the way.

When Jackson was asked how he felt about feedback about the meadows and in general he said, “I’m open to criticism whether negative or positive.” Jackson can be contacted at ccjackson@smcm.edu by anyone interested in giving contrusctive criticism.

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