By Reubin Turner
Students at Baylor have all walked by the Sadie Jo Black Gardens located on Founders Mall and noticed vibrant plants and flowers that add a hint of aesthetic beauty amid the hustle and bustle of undergraduates scrambling to class.
With the university’s newest award, it seems there are others who have taken note as well.
The Professional Grounds Management Society awarded the University the 2012 Green Star Award last month.
The society was created in 1911 to unite professional grounds managers while promoting the education of grounds keeping among its members.
The university was one of seven to win the award among the universities who entered the 2012 competition.
Don Bagby, director of facilities management at Baylor, attended the national conference in Louisville, Ky., and accepted the award on behalf of Baylor.
The 2012 awards dinner was held in conjunction with the School of Grounds Management and GIE+EXPO.
Baylor, a city within a city that boasts a population of approximately 15,000 students, has a 26-member groundskeeping staff that helps manage its 350 acres of land.
Bagby says that although that is a relatively small staff for the university’s size, the staff does an excellent job of maintaining the grounds.
“Baylor is very proud of our grounds maintenance team for the diligence required to obtain this recognition,” Bagby said in a university press release.
He also said it is through the leadership of ground managers Andy Trimble and Brandon Martin that the university was recognized as one of the best-looking campuses.
Martin says that many are not aware of the time and effort the staff puts into keeping up the university grounds.
“We spend at least 40 hours a week maintaining the university grounds,” Martin said, which consists of approximately 10 and a half million square feet.”
Martin also said during special events on the campus such as homecoming and graduation, they spend at least two weeks prepping.
During the course of the school year, Martin said, there are two major color changes of the flowers, which include the change-outs of 1,000 flats of flowers.
He added that there is one major chrysanthemum change each year before homecoming, which includes 700-1,000 mum changes.
“There is never a dull moment,” Martin said, adding that throughout the summer and the mowing season, they mow the entire campus weekly.
One of the most well-known gardens on campus, the Sadie Jo Black Gardens, was created in 2005. Black, a Baylor alumna who taught at Baylor for 35 years, established the Sadie Jo Black Gardens Endowment Fund to enrich the attractiveness of the university.
Two benches sit by the gardens to give visitors and students the opportunity to sit and enjoy the garden.
Childress Freshman Joshua Caldwell said the various colors of the flowers and the abundance of trees on campus create a peaceful, calming effect.
“It’s more difficult to be stressed when surrounded by such beauty,” Caldwell said.