Chicago 430 S. Michigan Ave.Chicago, IL 60605(312) 341-3500
Schaumburg 1400 N. Roosevelt Blvd.Schaumburg, IL 60173(847) 619-7300
Image credit: Kenton Franklin, MaryBeth Radeck
Roosevelt University has set an example of sustainable land use by returning much of is campus back to original prairie and wetlands landscape. As of 2012, Roosevelt replaced of its eight acres of impermeable, water-consumptive lawn with native prairie grasses, rain gardens and a detention pond. As a result, native prairie has taken hold, along with a diversity of creatures in the heart of an urban center. Where thirsty and impermeable turf grass once polluted waterways, over just two years, drought-tolerant wildflowers now support life and add beauty to a successful business corridor in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.
To experience the prairie flowers and wildlife up-close, the University cut a path through the Prairie in Schaumburg so that visitors can experience the landscape and wildlife which met settlers to the area in the 1800s.
At just over ½ mile, the entire trek takes one through the restored prairie and the RUrbanPioneers Community Garden. If you bring your lunch, you’ll find picnic tables in the shade along the way. Keep your eye out for American Goldlfinch, damsel flies and flying grasshoppers!
Today, Roosevelt University is a Wildlife Habitat® by the National Wildlife Federation. The University's Schaumburg campus provides food, water, cover and a place to raise young as demonstrated by the families of geese, ducks, birds and insects living and breeding on campus.
Native biodiversity is supported through a constant flow of water through a retention basin, which also serves to detain rain water and protect streams from erosion. Native wildflowers support insects which in turn feed birds and others up through the food chain. Many different species of deciduous and coniferous trees provide a place to raise young, as well as food, nuts and cover.
Roosevelt continues to be recognized as a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation for adhering to ANSI standards and ISA Best Management Practices for pruning and removing of trees.
And this year, the University will earn Arboretum status from the Morton Arboretum. Boy Scout Troop #392, along with Sustainability interns have identified and inventoried all trees on campus. They will then mark and tag them to clearly identify the more than 25 tree and woody shrub types on the Schaumburg campus.
Nestled into the Schaumburg campus, the RUrbanPioneers Community Garden is in its third year and has tripled in size and output. This fledgling local food effort advances sustainability by including drip irrigation, soil improvements through the addition of compost generated in part from the Chicago campus recycling efforts.
Even the mostly glass-exterior on the Wabash building warns birds to avoid windows with “visual noise” and transparency reduction.
Surprisingly, Roosevelt University urban buildings in Chicago support biodiversity, too. Green roofs substitute for lost habitat by providing space for plants, related microbes, biota and insects to thrive. Birds find unexpected resting places and nesting support.