We consider our campus a treasure and take seriously our responsibility to care for it. The Haverford College Arboretum, along with College faculty, staff, students, alumni, friends, and volunteers, all contribute in various ways to maintaining healthy campus ecosystems, which are essential to the continued vitality and enjoyment of our landscape. These projects are among the many initiatives we have taken on to promote a healthy living environment for Haverford's diverse inhabitants.
During the spring and summer of 2017, the three-acre Duck Pond was restored after accumulated silt posed a threat to the entire ecosystem. The large pond was drained and a certified wildlife removal firm, in accordance with state law, re-homed fish, turtles, and frogs to natural bodies of water (such as Darby Creek) and brought the non-native fish (koi and goldfish) to a College rescue team which cared for them in holding pools while they awaited homes. As a result of these efforts, the Duck Pond will remain a vibrant ecosystem teeming with fish, turtles, and other life.
In October 2017, a volunteer event was held to plant native tree species along the Duck Pond streambank area. Invasive species had previously been removed by a herd of goats hired for exactly that purpose.
With these recent enhancements, the Duck Pond is now likely the healthiest -- and most attractive -- that it has ever been. Here’s a timeline of key events:
- 1894: “There is also….that most abominable feature known as the skating pond which when filled is a menace to the health of the families living near it, and an eyesore when empty,” commented one Haverford student.
- 1930: Daniel Smiley ‘30 plans for the transformation of the pond to a year-round body of water and leads a fundraising effort to dredge the pond and replace an adjacent shed in time for the College’s centennial in 1933. Three thousand cubic yards of soil were removed, the skating area increased by ½ acre, and floodlights were installed.
- 1948: An island is created as a sanctuary for wildlife
- 1949: The skating lodge is built.
Tree Removal & Plantings
During the summer of 2016, the College conducted a Tree Risk Assessment and concluded that of the 2,376 trees evaluated on the nature trail, eight percent either need to be removed or hazard-pruned. The first phase of this work was completed during winter 2018.
Tree removals are generally chipped and recycled into mulch with larger logs shipped to plywood plants or split for firewood.
More information about the tree assessment is available here.
Nature Trail Maintenance
Our 2.2-mile nature trail roughly follows the perimeter of Haverford’s 216-acre campus. Portions go through the arboretum’s conifer collection, meadows, athletic fields, woodlands and the campus two ponds.
The trail is maintained on an ongoing basis by adding stone to most sections of the trail and woodchips along the northern portion.
Canada geese present a health hazard in addition to being a nuisance. Haverford deploys a variety of methods to discourage geese from homing here on campus, including:
- Herd dogs, who chase geese when they are on land
- Extending the Duck Pond’s boundary fence back from water’s edge
- Letting the grass grow adjacent to the pond
- Using fescues rather than bluegrass
- ‘Startle strategies’ such as firecrackers, remote controlled cars and boats, and lasers.
- A floating blinking light that annoys geese during night hours
- Informational signs concerning supplemental feeding and its effects has been installed. The message? Please don’t feed the waterfowl!
Bees & Pollinators
Four bee hives were installed in May 2015 in the retention pond behind the Haverfarm. The bees help pollinate the Arboretum, Haverfarm, and the community gardens. In 2017, extracted honey was processed at a local facility and sold to the Campus community.
Students have number educational opportunities to learn about beekeeping and its benefits.
We have two rain gardens on campus. One is at the Duck Pond and the other is adjacent to the new VCAM building (the former Old Gym, on Founders Green).
Rain gardens allow stormwater runoff to be absorbed at a slower rate, thereby mitigating erosion from fast moving water. They also cut down on pollutants reaching rivers and streams.
To improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions, the College is expanding the proportion of hybrid and electric vehicles in our fleet. Students, faculty and staff are welcome to use our charging stations on the honor system (by dropping off $1 per use or $10 per month at the Facilities front office) and may obtain a personal PIN for E/V charging stations in the South Lot by contacting Bill Anderko at 610-896-1095 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Green roofs help prevent stormwater runoff, mitigate heat island effects, conserve energy, create wildlife habitat, and improve the aesthetic environment.
Stokes Hall had a green roof installed in October 2008. The 5,700 square foot roof is planted with six varieties of drought-resistant sedums.
Kim and Tritton Halls also have green roofs totaling 17,046 square feet. Drought-tolerant grasses and succulents grow in six inches or less of growing medium for support, and need no additional irrigation and little to no maintenance.
There are 8.65 acres of meadow on campus in two distinct areas. One lies above Duck Pond, toward the heart of campus, and one is in the Pinetum, over toward Haverford Road. These areas are cleared once per year, and are a hub of insect and bird activity.
The 10 acres around the Duck Pond is a certified Penn State Pollinator garden. Several thousand native plants were installed over a period of five years, and the pond provides a continuous source of water. Portions of the meadow are left as-is during the winter months, and together with downed trees and branches provide habitats for a variety of species. Invasives are controlled by selective mowing. No pesticides are used.
KINSC Boulder Hill
The hill behind the Koshland Integrated Natural Science Center is filled with native plants that combat erosion. Created in 2003, Boulder Hill was planted with native trees and shrubs. Minimally maintained, it has been allowed to follow natural succession and is a hub of insect and bird activity. It, along with the garden in front of adjacent Hilles Hall, are not to be missed during your Arboretum tour.
The Haverfarm is a year-round farming and educational space designed to integrate sustainable food and agriculture into the academic and extracurricular lives of Haverford students, faculty, staff, and community members. With a focus on interdisciplinary and experiential learning, the Haverfarm invites students and other members of the community to engage with issues of food justice and local, progressive agriculture. Produce is distributed to students, community members, the Dining Center, and local food banks.
The campus has hosted community gardens for a century. So-called “war gardens” were created on Merion Field (between the Duck Pond and Lancaster Avenue) during WWI. “Victory gardens” were installed during WWII in the community garden’s current location behind the Facilities Department located south of the South Parking Lot.
1 College Circle
The president’s house is planted with species native to southeastern Pennsylvania and is dedicated to Louise Tritton, wife of former Haverford president Tom Tritton (1997-2007).
Cope Cricket Field
Located at the top of the gentle hill that rises from the Duck Pond toward the heart of campus, Cope Cricket Field is maintained organically following NOFA Guidelines. This includes core aerifying, adding compost, organic fertilizers, overseeding and several applications of compost tea. No pesticides are used.