U.Va.'s Landscape Division Wins Awards in 2007 Green Star Competition

November 14, 2007
Nov. 14, 2007 — The Landscape Division of the University of Virginia’s Facilities Management Operations received two Grand Awards and an Honor Award the Professional Grounds Management Society’s 2007 Green Star Awards competition.

The awards, which were presented at the Green Industry and Equipment Expo in Louisville, Ky. last month, are:

• A Grand Award in the small site category for exceptional grounds maintenance of Kluge Children’s Rehabilitation Center. The award cites the fact that the grounds serve as an instrumental path on the long road to recovery for these brave children who are evaluated and treated at the center by building “a welcoming environment for patients and their families, and providing such amenities as a patient plant therapy greenhouse and medicinal garden.”

• A Grand Award in the hospital or institution category for exceptional grounds work at the University Health System. In presenting this award, the judges called the U.Va. Health System grounds crew “a case study in budgeting and environmental conservation techniques.” The award notes the way in which leaves are mulched and mowed into the landscape to minimize labor efforts and reduce the need to purchase humus. “Additionally, compost material produced on grounds is used in all flowerbeds to improve both the physical condition and fertility of the soil. Deadfall and trimmings are chipped and the mulch is used to conserve soil moisture, help eliminate weeds, reduce erosion, keep plant roots cool, provide winter protection, and make the overall landscape more attractive.”

• An Honor Award in the university and college grounds category for landscape work on the University’s Grounds. The award emphasizes ongoing work that the U.Va. grounds crew performs to maintain the 10 pavilion gardens, which were part of the vision of Thomas Jefferson’s Academical Village.

The Green Star Awards program brings national recognition to grounds maintained with a high degree of excellence, complimenting other national landscape award programs that recognize outstanding landscape design and construction. This year's program acknowledged the nation's top manicured grounds in settings ranging from parks to apartment complexes to cemeteries. Overall, PGMS presented 19 Grand Awards, its highest honor, as well as 20 Honor Awards in 14 categories of competition.

“We are extremely pleased with these awards and with the well-deserved national recognition that they give to our grounds crew for the superior work that they do, day-in and day-out, at the University,” said Donald E. Sundgren, chief facilities officer at U.Va.

The awards, Sundgren added, highlight the work of almost 70 individuals who comprise U.Va.’s landscape team.

“We aren’t really focused on winning national awards like this, but it is always nice to have the work recognized, especially to be included with some other high-ranking universities,” said Richard Hopkins, superintendent of the Landscape Division. “We all take pride in our work.”

The awards represent a team effort, added Roger Conner, landscape coordinator, who added that the Health System recognition signifies U.Va.’s “commitment toward enriching its patients’ lives through green spaces.”