The Rincon Heights Neighborhood has teamed up with the UA to build a 60-bed community garden that doubles as an outdoor, hands-on learning laboratory for students. With the help of two UA interns, the UA Masters of Public Administration Student Association, and the UA Compost Cats, neighborhood residents have prepared 36 garden beds, planted two fig trees and acquired a cache of shovels and other gardening tools.
Set atop Mingus Mountain, near Prescott, the James 4-H Camp is the flagship camp and conference center for Arizona 4-H. This project involves sustainable improvements for the camp including solar-powered LED lighting systems, a solar hot water heater for showers, a gray water recycling system, low flow toilets, and a composting toilet. UA professor Ed Franklin’s agricultural education students were recruited to help install the solar panels.
The UA Community and School Garden Program hired a Graduate Research Assistant to develop and conduct a systematic assessment of the Garden Program’s impact on community participants and UA interns. Participating interns observed and evaluated their peers in consultation with each other, the graduate assistant, and faculty instructors. The quantifiable data this system produces hopes to secure outside funding from the likes of the National Science Foundation and the William T.
Through the UA Community and School Garden Program, UA interns use garden-based lessons to help K-12 students understand abstract ideas like the carbon cycle and photosynthesis, and larger topics ranging from nutrition to food security and social justice. In the summer of 2013 eight interns attended a sustainability-in-education summer institute in New York.
The community food bank helps set up gardens for low income families in their backyard. The Compost Cats donate their compost to these gardens.
The Local Sourcing at the Student Union is run by the Compost Cats with the assistance of the head chef of the Student Union, Chef Omo. The compost from the union is used on the farm and then the crops from the farm are used to cook food for the union. The goal is to go full circle using composting and farming.
The Compost Cats have created an internship program for the members within the club. The goal is to give interns the ability to get more invovled with the community. Some interns work at the Food Bank, the Community Water Coalition, Trees with Tucson, Hydrocats, Casa Marie Soup Kitchen, etc. The Compost Cats want to make more change in the community.
The overall purpose of this project is to promote sustainable biodiversity through research, education, and outreach. This research project consists of quantifying herpetofaunal (reptile and amphibian) biodiversity at Tumamoc Hill and other fragmented areas of Sonoran Desert habitat throughout Tucson. Because snakes, lizards, frogs, and toads are among the most important consumers and prey in Sonoran desert ecosystems, sustaining herpetofaunal biodiversity is vital to the health of desert ecosystems.
The UA Campus Arboretum consists of 7,810 mature trees spread across 387 acres. Using i-Trees software, which accounts for the location, species, size, and age of each tree, students are assessing the value of campus trees both in economic terms—maintenance expenses and energy cost savings—as well as environmental—atmospheric carbon reduction and air quality benefits.