Article

Rain Garden Management at Aurora University

Rain gardens are unique, natural solutions to solve stormwater problems. They provide a cost-effective and environmentally friendly option to slow water and hold it for up to 48 hours, allowing drainage to occur. Rain gardens also provide the opportunity for pollutants to be filtered out of the water before it reaches nearby streams, groundwater, and other water sources.

Brandon Haley, a Grounds Project Manager with SSC Services for Education, oversaw the renovation of a rain garden at Aurora University in 2019 after SSC took over management of the campus. When our grounds teams evaluated the space, they found that the garden had changed since its installation nearly 10 years prior, and the original plants were not thriving as intended. This was limiting the effectiveness of the garden. Our SSC team worked to find plant species that performed better in the microclimates present in the garden, and as the garden has matured, the plants have continued to grow and thrive.

A successful rain garden requires an in-depth maintenance and management plant that evolves. Our team at Aurora University takes several steps to ensure that the garden continues to prosper.

  • Integrated Pest Management: Our SSC team has an IPM program in place, which sets the threshold for insects and diseases. Weekly inspections occur to scout for pests, problems and to take any remedial actions when this threshold is exceeded. With detailed scouting records, the management program is improved every year.
  • Irrigation: Because this rain garden is designed to slow water and hold it for up to 48 hours, it also is prone to drought and has little water holding capacity. The rain garden is equipped with a 2-3-inch layer of triple ground hardwood mulch to limit the need for hand watering. This layer is constantly monitored, depth-checked annually, and logged into a GIS system for long-term record keeping.
  • Deadheading & Weeding: The rain gardens at Aurora University are full of beautiful native plants and flowering perennials. The team deadheads the flowers weekly to encourage new blooms and keep the area looking green. You’ll also spot our team hand pulling weeds during inspections and removing leaf litter to be composted. Keeping the rain garden free from debris helps to keep the original drainage qualities of the soil.

SSC’s award-winning Grounds Management team at Aurora University has a proven management program that has stood the test of time. Placing this unique garden space next to one of the original buildings on campus has brought a modern look to a classic structure. The management practices put in place by SSC’s team ensure that this space will be filtering the water coming off the building for years to come.

Explore more ways that SSC provides unique solutions to campuses by checking out our Resource Center and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

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The Compass Network

As a member of Compass Group North America, a $16 billion food and support services organization, SSC has an incredible array of resources at our fingertips, and we put those resources to work for our partners. Compass Group has existing relationships with institutions in all 50 states through its diverse family of business lines including Chartwells, Bon Appetit, FLIK, and Canteen.

Compass group brings unshakable financial stability to support our growth, allowing SSC to invest in innovations for our partners. This support also brings peace of mind to our partnerships by allowing us to take more risk and guarantee outcomes. We can even offer up-front capital investments for facility infrastructure improvements, leading to immediate and long-term financial payoff for your campus.

The Compass Network

As a member of Compass Group North America, a $16 billion food and support services organization, SSC has an incredible array of resources at our fingertips, and we put those resources to work for our partners. Compass Group has existing relationships with institutions in all 50 states through its diverse family of business lines including Chartwells, Bon Appetit, FLIK, and Canteen.

Compass group brings unshakable financial stability to support our growth, allowing SSC to invest in innovations for our partners. This support also brings peace of mind to our partnerships by allowing us to take more risk and guarantee outcomes. We can even offer up-front capital investments for facility infrastructure improvements, leading to immediate and long-term financial payoff for your campus.