A Little Grounds Fun

Are you curious what the Grounds Department does at this time of the year? With the weather starting to cool, the leaves changing colors and beginning to drop from the trees, and the stores selling all things pumpkin spice, my team is just as busy as always. Aerating, weeding, and installing the fall display of mums and pumpkins will give way to leaf removal, holiday light installation, and preparing for the dreaded precipitation that “must not be named”. However, we do make sure to take some time out each week for some educational fun.
We ended the athletic season with a fun-filled day of infield management and equipment demonstration by hosting the Gateway Sports Turf Managers Association (GSTMA) Field Day. About 30 athletic field and turf managers from around the St. Louis metro area joined us on our fields for Justin Scott’s hands-on presentation of mound renovation and infield maintenance. (For those of you unfamiliar with Mr. Scott, he is the Assistant Head Groundskeeper for the St. Louis Cardinals.) The rest of the afternoon, we drooled over the parking lot full of field equipment that makes all of our jobs much quicker and more efficient. Special thanks to Tom Brown at MTI Distributing for letting my team borrow the Toro 5040 Sand Pro infield groomer. Again.
Our Master Naturalist Interns had the opportunity to show off their insect identification skills this week with Dr. Monica Hall-Woods BIO.150.01 class. The team transported her students to the storage facility and the fields behind it, to collect insects that they will use in lab for DNA extraction. Having an opportunity to work with our students is a highlight of what we do on campus and based on the amount of specimens collected, it seems obvious the students enjoyed it as well. Preying mantids, spiders, grasshoppers, and moths were just a few genera discovered. Other evidence of enjoyment- students bounding across the field, child-like and without a care in the world, intent on filling their bags full of bugs. This is why we love our jobs.
Finally, thanks in large part to the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the awarding of the TRIM grant, the Grounds Department and Tree Advisory Committee is hosting the Tree Inventory Kick-Off with Davey Resource Group. Inventory arborists will be on campus for the next couple of weeks, collecting data points and tree information (species, health, hazard ratings, etc.) for all of the trees on the St. Charles Community College (SCC) campus. Once it is completed, the Grounds Department will have the resources for effectively managing our urban forest, the community will have the ability to discover our tree population and its benefits, and SCC will have met the long term goal put forth in the Tree Campus USA tree care plan.
I appreciate that you took the time for a break with us. Now, it is back to work. There is still mulch to throw, seed to spread, and soccer lines to paint. Go Lady Cougars!

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