Three student projects, each conducted with funding from a Texas A&M Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning minigrant program, are scheduled to take place this fall in the Schob Nature Preserve, a “living” 7-acre classroom in College Station.
The preserve, dedicated in October 2014, is a gift to the university from David E. Schob, a much-beloved university history professor who died in 2007.
In one of the projects, students led by Bruce Dvorak, associate professor of landscape architecture, will expand the preserve’s existing area of perennial and annual grasses that once dominated the Brazos Valley landscape.
Dvorak’s students, with counterparts from parks and recreation and the natural sciences, will then be able to perform biodiversity counts in and water runoff quantifications from preserve areas with the new grasses.
In another project, students led by Geoffrey Booth, associate professor and holder of the Youngblood Endowed Professorship in Land Development, will perform a Quadruple Net Value analysis of the preserve’s social/cultural, economic, environmental and sensory values.
Also during the fall semester, students led by Galen Newman, assistant professor of urban planning, will create a digital inventory and map of the park’s existing site conditions, install environmental monitoring equipment and create an interactive website that will showcase the preserve’s amenities.
Newman’s students will also create an interactive application that will display the preserve’s environmental data for educational and public use.
The projects will be funded by LAUP’s minigrant program, part of the Dr. David E. Schob Fund, a $1.9 million endowment used to operate the preserve, located on Ashburn Avenue in College Station’s Eastgate subdivision.
In the spring 2015 semester, the minigrant program funded a project that saw students design and install two rain gardens sustained by stormwater runoff absorbed from nearby impervious surfaces such as walkways and parking lots.
In the project, students led by Jun-Hyun Kim, assistant professor of landscape architecture, installed native grasses and flowers and a system to collect, convey and clean stormwater.
The preserve also includes hiking trails, a drainage swale, two pergolas and new plants installed according to a 2012 site plan created by Michael Murphy, a retired Texas A&M professor of landscape architecture.