The Bartramian Audubon Society, the local chapter of the National Audubon Society, has presented its 2013 Award for Sustainable Conservation by an Institution to Slippery Rock University.
Cheryl Norton, SRU president, accepted the award on the University’s behalf from Gene Wilhelm, the chapter’s sanctuary chair.
SRU was cited for becoming the first Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education University to sign the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2009. The chapter also noted that in 2012, under the leadership of President Norton, SRU submitted a Climate Action Plan that sets a goal of achieving carbon neutrality by the year 2037.
“To continue focusing on this goal, SRU will work to conserve energy through improving its physical facilities, promoting a sustainable culture on campus and protecting its natural resources with a number of initiatives including: 1) appointing a senior level, full-time campus sustainability coordinator to harmonize all University leaders engaged in sustainability initiatives and to synergize campus/community efforts that are undertaken to protect the environment; 2) creating a Land Use Project review process as a proactive approach to land use planning that will promote sustainable development, preserve environmentally sensitive areas, and maximize conservation of natural and educational relevant resources; and 3) initiating a campus grounds GIS mapping project that will document existing natural resources and environmental areas such as Audubon wildlife sanctuaries, streams, wetlands, ‘no-mow’ riparian buffer zones, old growth forests and sustainable educational trails; among others,” Wilhem said.
Since 2005, SRU has reduced net greenhouse emissions by 25 percent or 12,600 metric tons of carbon dioxide. The reduction is equivalent to preserving 97 acres of U.S. forests from conversion to other uses.
Seven Audubon sanctuaries managed by SRU protect 471.96 acres – 151.20 acres on the main campus – ranking it number one in the four-county chapter sanctuary system.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.