NWC named Groundwater Guardian Green Site

Northwestern College has been named a 2008 Groundwater Guardian Green Site by The Groundwater Foundation in recognition of the college’s groundwater and environmental stewardship. Northwestern earned this designation based on its practices related to water use, pesticide and fertilizer management, and pollution prevention.

Northwestern is the first Iowa college and only the second college nationwide to be named a Groundwater Guardian Green Site. Other honored sites include Desert Hot Springs Spa Hotel in California; Hickory Hills Golf Club in Grove City, Ohio; Missouri Baptist University; Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center in Jamestown, N.D.; Salina (Kan.) Country Club; San Miguel County Fairgrounds and Regional Park in Norwood, Colo.; and the Southwest Park District for the city of Lincoln, Neb.

Groundwater Guardian Green Sites are essentially places with a lot of green space—such as golf courses; ball fields; educational campuses; and residential, recreational and office parks—that implement practices that protect groundwater and surface water. Criteria for earning the designation include documentation of practices such as selecting plants adapted to the region’s climate, tracking irrigation water use, maintaining a no-application zone around surface water and active wells, and applying fertilizer based on nutrient needs.

“This honor is an affirmation of the work done by Ward Van Peursem, Mike Buyert and the rest of our groundskeeping staff,” says Sue Taylor, Northwestern’s government regulations specialist, who submitted the college’s application. “It recognizes our commitment to be good stewards of the environment.”

The Groundwater Guardian Green Site program is operated by The Groundwater Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Lincoln, Neb. Begun last year, the program seeks to recognize good stewards of groundwater by encouraging managers of highly-managed green spaces to implement, measure and document their groundwater-friendly practices.

“Groundwater is an extremely valuable resource that contributes to our health and well-being every day,” says Jane Griffin, president of the foundation. “Most Americans rely on groundwater as a source of drinking water, but they also rely on it as a necessary input for agriculture and business. Recognizing active groundwater stewards like Northwestern College is our way of motivating others to do the same.”