Environment, News

Ungar houses sustainable vertical garden

The ECS department installed a living "green wall" in the department lobby in the Ungar building last semester. Hallee Meltzer // Staff Photographer

The ECS department installed a living “green wall” in the department lobby in the Ungar building last semester. Hallee Meltzer // Staff Photographer

The Green Wall, a vertical garden planted last August inside the Ungar Building, was once green and flourishing.

Over the course of the last semester, however, difficulties with lighting and irrigation led to many of the wall’s original 110 plants dying out. This semester’s Green Wall Stewards, a pair of student volunteers, are working to revitalize the wall.

The Green Wall, which was planted with native Florida plants by Ecosystem Science and Policy (ECS) students and faculty, stretches from floor to ceiling between two windows of the Abess Center for ECS lobby in the second floor of Ungar. Rows of plants including wild coffee, oxalis and mother-in-law tongue are anchored into the wall.

The wall was implemented as a teaching tool and a way to create a more natural indoor environment.

“There is a real psychological boost from having growing things around,” said Gina Maranto, director of the undergraduate ECS program.

Since the beginning of the semester, Terri Hood, the faculty adviser for the project, and the Green Wall Stewards have been using innovative methods to identify and resolve problems the wall faces.

“It has been a learning experience,” said Hood, who is also the assistant director of the ECS program.

To see the progress of the plants, the stewards have begun to compare the color of the plants’ leaves to various shades of green paint chips.  By doing so, the stewards can see if the color of the leaves darken, which is a sign of the plant’s health.

This technique will be useful in analyzing the effect of a recently added grow bulb, a light that simulates sunlight.

“It is very rewarding to watch the plants grow and respond to what we are doing,” said sophomore Agustina Cortina, a Green Wall Steward.

In addition to biweekly watering, once a week Cortina and fellow steward Derek Sheldon meet with Hood to strategize and evaluate the progress the wall has made. This can be difficult because the different plants have varying water, light and nutrient requirements.

“It has been very trial and error,” Sheldon said. “Responses to changes have been highly variable, even within a plant type.”

As the wall continues to improve, the stewards have began to make the wall more self-sustaining by adding yard collected and more useful plants.

“We would like to put an emphasis on native and strategic edible plants,” Hood said. “It’s the whole concept of pushing people’s minds a little further on the subject of sustainability and the different ways it can manifest in aspects of daily life.”

February 16, 2014

Reporters

Laura Vander Meiden


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

The Hurricanes wrapped up spring with a big, as in 6-5 and 290 pounds, surprise on Saturday. Four-st ...

Spring ended Saturday for the Miami Hurricanes, with hundreds of UM football alumni and family membe ...

One day left for the youngsters to show University of Miami coach Mark Richt what they can do. One d ...

Former Miami Norland High star Zach Johnson is coming home for his final year of college basketball. ...

They have been feted and adored for years by football fans from coast to coast. But legends Frank Go ...

The Energy and Conservation Organization was recognized with the 2018 Roberta “Bosey” Fulbright Foot ...

The Brazilian judge whose office spearheaded a massive corruption and bribery investigation said tha ...

The director of the University of Miami's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, who passed away Ap ...

Business Professor Patricia Abril, and Trustee Stuart Miller receive Faculty Senate's highest h ...

Miami's women's track and field team entered the top-15 in the latest edition of the NCAA ...

Junior righthander Andrew Cabezas was recognized with ACC Pitcher of the Week honors after an outsta ...

Hurricanes record their best round of tournament on Monday. ...

The University of Miami men's tennis team highlighted its Senior Day with a 4-0 sweep against D ...

The No. 17 Miami women's tennis team wrapped up the regular season with its sixth straight vict ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.