Friday, March 26, 2010

Grounds crew works to keep UIS campus beautiful

The University of Illinois Springfield grounds crew is responsible for maintaining 370 acres of landscaping on campus every year. It’s a big job for the crew of 10 people, but one they feel passionate about.

“We’re trying to make sure everything looks good for the public and everyone concerned who utilizes the campus,” said Joan Buckles, UIS horticulturist and grounds worker supervisor.

The grounds crew is in charge of all of the campus turf, perennial beds, trees, shrubs, and parking lot areas on campus. During the winter they clear snow from campus streets and sidewalks, but it’s during the spring when they’re busiest.

“This is a hectic time of the year because of weather and getting things cleaned up before dormancy breaks,” said Buckles.

Crews have been busy laying mulch, which will allow them to plant annual flowers on campus in early May. Buckles expects many of the trees on campus to start blooming even earlier.

“Springtime is beautiful on this campus. There are just so many flowering trees,” she said.

Buckles has identified more than 300 varieties of trees and plants growing on the 750 acre UIS campus. She gives a lot of the credit to early campus planner, who invested in high quality trees and shrubs.

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