Turf Battle-the Redesign of Atwater

As you may have read in the email from Tim Spears, the Master Plan Implementation Committee is sponsoring a contest to redesign the Atwater Commons area of campus. You can read all about it on the blog dedicated to the project at http://sites.middlebury.edu/turfbattle/, where myself and several others will be writing.

I’ll be blogging here about the contest as well. Posts on the contest site will be specific to the contest, so all you wonderful readers  here will probably not find it all that exciting. On Middland, though, I’ll be blogging more general topics, hopefully some of interest. Topics like Sustainable Landscaping, some design theory, rain gardens, maybe even down to lists of favorite plants.

Why have students design a significant portion of the landscape here? I will admit to having moments of control issues, so the intitial reaction of a student design might be one of dismay. Lately, though, I find myself walking on campus at nights, or on the weekends, and I’m amazed by how different the campus is. It’s not just seeing things at a new time of day, it’s more than that. Without the faculty, staff, cars, gators, lawn mowers, pick up trucks, all that, the campus seems more homey. The sidewalks seem busier, and there seems to be a buzz, a background hum of activity that makes Middlebury seem exciting, a fun place to live.

So I’ve realized, well, I don’t live here. It’s not my school. (Maybe I’ll claim ownership of a couple of trees, but, spend some time climbing them for work and it’s nice to be on a first name basis.) Who better to plan a major outdoor living area on campus than its residents? While I think that everybody that lives and works here should have a say in the landscape, I’m excited to see just what the students want to do with their campus. I invite you to join the discussion, either here or on the Atwater contest blog, and let your voice be heard as well.

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