UNCG has received a $46,112 grant from the Duke Energy Water Resources Fund to construct two wetlands on campus. The wetlands will improve water quality and biotic diversity, provide educational and research opportunities, spur community outreach and enhance the natural beauty of campus.
UNCG is one of 12 organizations in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia selected by Duke Energy to share nearly $780,000 in new grants to support environmental and wildlife programs. UNCG’s Dr. Malcolm Schug, Dr. Lynn Sametz and Dr. Parke A. Rublee are principal investigators on the grant. Rublee, who serves as chair of the UNCG Wetlands Committee, accepted the award on Dec. 13 at a grant recipient event in Belmont, North Carolina.
“We’re excited about this transformative investment from Duke Energy and the opportunity to build wetlands on UNCG’s campus,” Rublee said. “In addition to providing critical environmental services, such as improving water quality, the wetlands will offer a variety of opportunities for student learning, research and community outreach.”
The wetlands will be constructed on campus near North Buffalo Creek in March of 2017. Their maintenance will be integrated into UNCG’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) curriculum.
Historically, North Carolina was replete with wetlands; however, as land was developed for farming during the 1800s and early 20th century, most were drained. Wetlands play a critical role in ecosystems, providing water purification, flood abatement and natural habitats for diverse plant and animal species.
The wetlands project dates back to the fall of 2014 when UNCG’s Research and Instruction in STEM Education (RISE) Network began exploring the idea of campus wetlands. Earlier this year, wetlands restoration expert Tom Biebighauser visited campus, identified potential wetlands sites and drafted construction plans. The project is an interdisciplinary collaboration between numerous academic departments and the Greensboro Science Center. In addition to the Duke Energy grant, the project has received $8,000 from the UNCG Green Fund.
The Water Resources Fund is a $10 million multiyear commitment from Duke Energy to help local nonprofit organizations continue to protect and improve the environment, including waterways used year-round across the Carolinas and neighboring states.
To learn more about the UNCG wetlands development project, visit rise.uncg.edu/projects/wetlands-project.
Story by Alyssa Bedrosian, University Communications
Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Communications