Your daily dose of news, notes and links from around Kansas University.
• I picked up a copy of a report from the architecture firm BNIM this week on the effectiveness of the rain garden outside of the Ambler Student Recreation Fitness Center.
The whole point of a rain garden, the report reminds us, is that it reduces water runoff. The rate from the runoff from the roof of the building is slowed to reduce the potential for downstream flooding and stream bank erosion.
Plants were installed in May 2009 and “appear to be thriving,” the report said.
When it’s dry, the garden can delay the water runoff by about an hour and 20 minutes, which is “a significant reduction over expected travel times through pipes,” the report said.
The garden also disperses the water runoff over a large area to reduce the possibility of erosion.
Jeff Severin, KU’s sustainability guru, explained a bit about the project in a Journal-World article from 2010 that commemorated the garden’s first anniversary.
"It's basically a depression that can collect that initial flush of rain water," Severin said at the time. "They're typically designed with native plants and other kinds of tolerable species that can also help filter any pollutants in that water. So basically it's an urban storm water management tool that people can use in their yards on a small scale or, in the case of the campus garden, can be used in a pretty large scale. Ours is kind of different because it's huge."
• I picked that report up during a conversation with Peg Livingood, who I’m writing about for our upcoming “Only in Lawrence” section, which should be a pretty good read.
We’re profiling folks who contribute to our community in ways that are often overlooked.
Livingood is a landscape architect for KU, and is involved in a number of different projects to help preserve and protect the campus’ natural beauty.
Aside from the rest of our conversation, she relayed a bit of news that I found interesting.
She told me that a list of donor opportunities for campus beautification projects is in the works, and could go live as soon as a month or so.
As an example of a project likely to be on that list, she said, is a plan to plant rows of trees along Jayhawk Boulevard to mirror a time when that once actually happened.
Elm trees lined the boulevard up until the 1960s before they died, partially because of disease.
Because of the potential for disease, Livingood said, it’s unlikely that any new trees would be of the same species.
Stay tuned for more on campus history and Peg in our upcoming section. It’ll be thrilling. I promise.
• John L. Allen Jr., CNN’s senior Vatican analyst who is also a KU alumnus, will be making a visit to campus soon to deliver a lecture to the university community.
Allen earned a master’s degree in religious studies from KU in 1992. He will discuss changes in the Catholic Church and what the future holds for the Church.
He also contributes to the National Catholic Reporter and National Public Radio, and has authored “The Future Church,” along with several other books about the church.
He is scheduled to speak at 7:30 p.m. April 11 at Woodruff Auditorium in the Kansas Union.
• Plant a seed at the Heard on the Hill Tip Garden by sending me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.