JASPER, Ind. - Environmental education efforts at the Vincennes University Jasper Campus have been recognized by a professional organization that promotes water resources research and education. The Indiana Water Resources Association (IWRA) presented its Outstanding Achievement Award to VUJC Dean Alan Johnson at the organization’s annual symposium at Spring Mill State Park on June 13. The citation noted Johnson’s “guiding vision for sustainable land management on the campus that will continue to yield water quality benefits.”
The IWRA was founded in 1979 to promote water resources research, education, and communication in Indiana. It is an organization of several hundred professionals and students working in all aspects of water resources. Its members include scientists, engineers, regulators, educators, policy makers, and students from government agencies, universities, industry, consulting firms, and other water-related groups.
Johnson’s nomination noted his leadership in expanding the institution’s environmental education efforts. The Jasper Campus has been designated as a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation in recognition of the work to expand the population of trees and educate the public about proper tree selection, planting, and care. Twelve acres on the campus are designated as Certified Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Foundation. The planting of native grasses and wildflowers provides food, water, cover, and places to raise young for local birds and small mammals.
This spring VUJC partnered with the Dubois County Soil and Water Conservation District to develop the campus farm land into a research and education site to help farmers improve productivity while improving the quality of the soil and cleaning the water that runs off the fields. The five-year agreement, called the VUJC Land Stewardship Initiative, will apply no-till and cover crop techniques to stabilize soil structure, increase its biologic activity, and filter the rainwater that drains from the fields.
“We are thrilled that an organization of environmental professionals has recognized our work,” said Johnson. “We have faculty, staff, and students on the campus who are passionate about the environment and want share their knowledge with the community. These energetic individuals have implemented the campus recycling program and every spring they plan several events celebrating Earth Day.”