These various locations around campus are designed to provide habitats for wildlife or make the campus more nature friendly. Some locations reduce temperatures, aid in storm/rain water drainage, purify air and/or provide a place for faculty and students to connect to the environment and enjoy the scenery!
The RVCC Enabling Garden is located in front of the Events Center, near Parking Lot 1. It is meant to stimulate the senses and be easily accessible and therapeutic.
The Enabling Garden vision and mission was launched in 2011 as part of a partnership between Rotary International District 7510 (Central New Jersey) and Rutgers University and its entities, New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension. Known as the "Rotary and Rutgers: Growing Lives One Seed at a Time" initiative, it features barrier-free, accessible gardens, and/or activities, provided with modifications to be enjoyed by people with disabilities.
In 2015, RVCC broke ground on its Enabling Garden which has planters with heights that are wheelchair accessible. Eagle Scout Patrick O'Rourke constructed the gabions and drip irrigation system. The garden is watered by two large rain collection barrels. The tanks collect rainwater from the roof that runs underneath the garden through an irrigation line and feeds all of the plants. Over a period of 6 weeks in the spring of 2017, several groups participated in planting the Enabling Garden:
- students from three Environmental Science classes
- RVCC employees participating in the Campus Cares gardening program
- members of Clinton's Girl Scout Troop 81038
- RVCC's Rotaract Club.
The garden contains a variety of native, beneficial and deer-resistant, plants providing sensory stimulation for smell, sight, touch, taste and sound, including Sweet William, Creeping Phlox, Swamp Milkweed, Black-eyed Susan, Blue Waxweed, Spearmint and Oregano, Wild Geranium and Foxglove Beard-Tongue.
With support from the RVCC Foundation, the Rain Garden was planted with native plants to filter storm water runoff. Students conduct the twice annual rain garden maintenance on campus. The campus Rain Garden receives the runoff from campus parking lots and roofs, and slows the water's flow before it drains to the nearby stream. This prevents erosion of the riverbank and filters out trash and pollutants that wash off paved surfaces. The garden needs to be cleaned of trash once a semester to work at full capacity. Volunteers remove the invasive plant species growing inside, as native plants provide the proper habitats and food resources for native insect populations and other wildlife.
The Rain Garden is located just down the hill from the Enabling Garden, below the one-way drive with parking on the side.
The Planetarium Pollinator Garden is located to the left of the planetarium entrance as you make your way towards the inner courtyards of the RVCC campus.
Pollinators are important to our food system. Pollination is the transfer of pollen from the male structure of a flower to the female structure of a different flower of the same species. A flower must be pollinated in order for fertilization to occur, with fruit and seed production dependent upon fertilization. Approximately 75 percent of all food crops grown in the United States depend on pollinator animals such as insects, reptiles, birds and some mammals.
Some plants rely on wind or water but almost 90% of plant species require the help of pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, moths, flies, beetles, hummingbirds, and bats to help set seed and produce fruit. Pollinator gardens support and maintain pollinators by supplying food in the form of pollen and nectar that will ensure that these important animals stay in the area to keep pollinating our crops for continued fruit and vegetable production.
A good pollinator garden will provide diverse native plants as well as water to attract, support, and protect native pollinators. Herbicides should be used very carefully (if at all).
The Children's Pollinator Garden is located outside the entrance to the RVCC Children's Campus Preschool and Childcare Center. It also provides native plants to attract pollinators.
There is a green roof of native plants that is visible from the top floor of Hunterdon Hall, looking out the windows at the end of the hall by the bathrooms.
Green roofs have been proven to help reduce heat islands. Heat islands form when there is a concentration of structures such as buildings, roads, and other infrastructure which absorb and re-emit the sun’s heat more than natural landscapes and create pockets of heat.
A green roof, or rooftop garden, is a vegetative layer grown on a rooftop. Green roofs provide shade, remove heat from the air, and reduce temperatures of the roof surface and surrounding air. Green roof temperatures can be 30–40°F lower than those of conventional roofs. Green roofs also provide stormwater management by slowing down rainfall and by allowing a portion of the precipitation to be returned to the atmosphere through evapotranspiration. Green roofs can be installed on a wide range of buildings, from industrial facilities to private residences.
This roof garden has also become a favorite nesting place for some Canadian geese in the spring!
RVCC has a two-story atrium “living wall” of vegetation known as a green wall located in the Bateman Student Center. The wall is irrigated by rain water collection.
Green walls are vertical structures that have different types of plants or other greenery attached to them. The greenery is often planted in a growth medium consisting of soil, stone, or water.
Green walls help to purify the air, decrease the ambient temperature, decrease noise levels, help make a building more fire-resistant and help to create a community feel. A living green wall can be helpful when horizontal space is at a premium.