at Nassau Community College, Garden City New York
Nassau County, New York is home to one of the few naturally occurring prairie remnants east of the Appalachian Mountains. Where 40,000 acres of native prairie grassland once existed, the Friends of Hempstead Plains (http://www.friendsofhp.org/site/) now zealously protects a 19-acre parcel. This passionate group of conservationists honored the ecologically and historically significant site by pursuing Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) Pilot project certification in 2010. Today, the Center is home to more than 250 different kinds of plant species that support scores of animals, birds, butterflies and other important pollinators. In addition, it is getting more attention and funding opportunities due to the SITES Pilot project designation.
Studioverde collaborator CeCe Haydock, ASLA recognized the potential benefits and rewards of SITES and urged the Friends of Hempstead Plains to develop the Center using SITES guidelines – a recommendation which was enthusiastically embraced by the group. Five years later, the project was awarded a Two-Star certification, and became one of only 50 completed SITES Pilot Projects nationwide.
The project features a green roof planted with Hempstead Plains native grasses and wildflowers, solar panels, a composting toilet and an education and research building constructed of recycled shipping containers, all within a very tight construction footprint. Hempstead Plains not only met the rigorous SITES prerequisites but also gained extra points for an active program of community volunteerism as well as for leading a group of regional grasslands managers. The Education Center provides indoor and outdoor classrooms and a living laboratory of native plants, habitats and sustainable landscape techniques.
The SITES team, led by CeCe Haydock, participated in regular webinars on the five areas of SITES focus: water, soil, vegetation, materials, and health and human well-being. The team also contributed to the revised SITES v2 Guidelines and Benchmarks, which form the basis of today’s certification system.
Contact Studioverde (http://studioverdeus.com/contact/) to get ideas about the benefits of SITES certification or about design that uses the SITES framework for your campus, property or residence. Studioverde is one of the few companies with the SITES and ecological expertise that will streamline the process, leverage multiple benefits and create a high performance landscape that works for you!