Creating Green Spaces

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Jim Linden

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Jim Linden has been "greening" IMSA for over 22 years through his position as Groundskeeper. Jim supports many Go Green projects, such as the Rain Garden and Prairie Restoration, by helping prepare the ground for planting, and then fertilizing and watering new plants and bushes. He also provides recommendations for purchasing native Illinois trees that will thrive in IMSA’s soil conditions. Jim is currently enrolled in a Master Gardening class at the University of Illinois Extension in DuPage County. His next step will be to complete a required 60-hour internship, after which he will become a Certified Master Gardener.

Read more about the University of Illinois Master Gardening Program at: http://web.extension.illinois.edu/dupage/mg/

Planting a Sugar Maple Tree

In memory of Scott Swanson, IMSA's previous Strategic Technology Coordinator and an alumnus of the class of '90, a Sugar Maple Tree was planted near the basketball court behind 1503/1504 on October 1, 2010. More information about Scott can be found at his obituary, a blog post from a classmate, and the IMSA alumni memorial.

"Above the Fold"

It is one of the goals of Go Green@IMSA's Literal Greening Project Team to burn and seed the IMSA prairie this spring. We hope to set a date, and a backup date, to burn between March 15th - April 15th. Our permit has been submitted for renewal and Fermilab is holding approx. 20 lbs of prairie seed for IMSA for pickup.


"The Fermilab site on Nature/Ecology offers unparalleled opportunities for environmental studies, including hundreds of acres that are being restored to tallgrass prairie that last flourished in Abraham Lincoln's youth. Investigators are now using this living laboratory to better understand ecosystem dynamics."


Their annual Fermilab Volunteer Prairie Seed Harvest has already been scheduled for the fall of 2010 and Go Green@IMSA will be looking for volunteers to participate on one of these days so that we have seed for our IMSA Prairie in the spring.


There is also a "How to" guide designed for those individuals interested in restoring an area of land back to native prairie written by Lawrence Cwik as part of his participation in the Teacher Research Associates (TRAC) Program at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia Illinois. The website includes a history of prairie restoration and sections that cover a range of topics including: seedbed preparation, planting, watering, burning, etc. and an illustrated guide to native prairie species.

IMSA Prairie

Prairie composite.jpg

IMSA Prairie Burn

For the first time in its history (14 years!), the IMSA prairie, located behind No Pond, between the two hills, was burned on October 19, 2010.

Pictures can be found here. They'll be uploaded to the wiki itself at a later date.

Peg Cain

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Photograph by Chris Reader | Graphic Design by Sam Mercier '11

Peg Cain has created an "English Greenhouse" (as some of our students call it) in IMSA's A-wing. There are three hallways that get light from the emergency exit doors and Peg fills them with her plants every fall - an amazing splash of color in September/October when they first arrive! To celebrate her contribution, Peg's poster will be featured on the Go Green@IMSA wall in February.


Rain Garden

Awesome job, by leaders Josie Wallmuth & Deb McGrath!

Read the State of Illinois: 2009 Illinois Rain Garden Initiative Grant Application, the 2008 Illinois Rain Garden Initiative Grant Application, and the 2009 IMSA Rain Garden Initiative Grant Report

The Rain Garden Plan includes native plants donated by Midwest Ground Cover and Heinz Brothers Greenhouse in St. Charles, Illinois. Work on the garden began in 2008 and has included four phases:

  • Phase 1: Aster novae-angliae, Eupatorium maculatum, Liatris spicata, Lobelia cardinalis, Lobelia siphiliticaa, Solidago ohioensis, Solidago riddellii, Zizia aurea, Lythrum alatum - June 2008
  • Phase 2: Carex stricta, Eupatorium perfoliatum, Lythrum alatum, Mimulus ringens, Scirpus atrovirens, Silphium perfoliatum, Vernonia fasciculata - October 2008
  • Phase 3: Eupatorium maculatum, Pycanthemum virginianum, Lyrthrum alatum, Heuchera richardsonii, Echinacea pallida, Baptisia australis, Geranium maculatum, Eryngium yuccifolium, Panicum virgatum, Sporobolus heterolepsis - November 2008
  • Phase 4: Aster umbellatus, Iris vigininica shrevei, Pycanthemum virginianum - April 2009


Photographs of the Rain Garden taken by Irene Norton - August 2009:

Full garden.jpg Bench composite.jpg Spike view of dorms.jpg Pinkie.jpg
Rain Garden facing south Garden bench Liatris spicata Eupatorium maculatum
Red leaves.jpg Rock.jpg White flowers.jpg Red flower composite.jpg
Zizia aurea rock Pycanthemum virginianum Lobelia cardinalis


A Rain Gardens how-to manual for homeowners by the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources.

Deb McGrath

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Deb's dream is to create a "green campus." In 2007, she helped develop the IMSA Native Garden and Landscape Plan. In 2008, Deb and Josie Wallmuth applied for, and were awarded, the Illinois Rain Garden Initiative Grant. They used funds from the grant to purchase native Illinois plants for an IMSA rain garden, which was started on the east side of campus with the help of students and staff. Last June, Deb accompanied four IMSA students to Colorado for the Keystone Youth Policy Summit on Energy Innovation. Deb is an active member of the Green Team as well as the Sierra Club.

IRC Skylight Area

The library's skylight area provides natural light and comfortable seating among a variety of indoor plants that include a ficus elastica (rubber plant) named Lilith, a Pony Tail plant, two Dieffenbachia, spider plants, a jade plant, and a norfolk island pine - among many others.

Library campus service student, Rachael Lambert '10, has been tending these plants for three years.

Skylight and plants.jpg IRC skylight.jpg Skylight facing north.jpg
IRC green space . . . and skylight area photographs by Chris Reader


An article: Shining a (natural) light on green schools from the University of Oregon's Office of Sustainability.


Perennial & Annual Gardens

Many thanks to IMSA's two Groundskeepers: Jim Linden & Shawn Albright! Together they maintain over 90 acres including the pond and prairie areas. Perennial plants: coral bells, daylilies, golden fingers, and native grasses share garden space with petunias, marigolds, and potato vines outside of the pool entrance to the main building. Jim has been with IMSA since 1990 and Shawn has been working with him on the grounds since 1995.

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