The Eco-collective group along with faculty is paying up to $17,000 for a Xeriscape project outside the IB building to promote the education of native plants to students and to improve the environmental sustainability at Lethbridge College.
The project first came about when Steve McCrae, instructor of Environmental Sciences brought forth the idea to the first year club last March. “We were a student group who had been working on some things last year and Steve approached us and we said, yeah, that would be really cool, lets do something, lets get money, lets make it bigger and better “ said Collins.
The College donated $10,000 to get the Xeriscape project started. “That money was used for the hard-scaping, so the rocks and benches were not paid for by the grant.”
The Eco collective group also received $7,000 when they applied to a Canada-wide grant program, which receives collective donations from the Wal-Mart Evergreen fund.
Xeriscaping is promoting water conservation using community plants to fill in the gaps. The rocks came from Frank Slide, but everything else is native to the area.
“We’re incorporating a lot of local geology,” says Collins. Everyone wants green Kentucky blue grass, but if you don’t water it three times a day, it will turn brown,” says Collins.
The benefit of native plants is that after two years they won’t need any water, because they’re drought tolerant and adapt to the semi-arid climate of Lethbridge.
“We’re promoting water conservation and people don’t realize how precious water is.”
Every plant will have a sign to identify it, so you’re not just going to go, oh, that’s a pretty flower,” said Collins.
On Oct. 2, about 30 volunteers showed up to help McCrae and the eight member Eco-collective group do a planting ceremony.
“We had a day where we were out there digging holes, planting, filling land and running wheelbarrows.”
“All the volunteers were provided with a free lunch.”