WCC President Dr. Rose B. Bellanca and Vice President of Facilities Development and Operations Damon B. Flowers (far left) along with Trustee Ruth Hatcher (sixth from left) were among the attendees at a reception to honor the college’s Landscape & Grounds Maintenance department prior to the October Board of Trustees meeting. Those honored include (from left) Amanda Krok, Gregory Weathers, Derek Nelson, Ricky Carrington, Robert Hurst, Holly Herman, Donna Reincke, Rich Harden, Randy Ferry, Kelly Milligan and Jeremy Podolak. | Photo by CJ South


For the second time this year, an authoritative national organization has recognized Washtenaw Community College for the work it does to maintain the natural beauty of its 295-acre campus.

The Professional Grounds Management Society presented WCC with a Grand Award — its highest honor — as part of its 2017 Green Star Awards. WCC earned the award in the “School Grounds for K-12, Technical Schools and Community Colleges” category for its exceptional grounds maintenance.

Only seven other Grand Awards were granted across 13 different categories in the nationwide competition.

In April, WCC was one of just four colleges in Michigan to receive Tree Campus USA certification from the Arbor Day Foundation and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

That national program honors colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals.

WCC inventories and maintains approximately 1,600 trees, a total that does not include the natural forest areas located outside the campus’ 147 acres of maintained grounds.

WCC Landscape & Grounds Maintenance Manager Holly Herman accepted the PGMS honor during the society’s 2017 Awards Dinner held in conjunction with its School of Grounds Management and GIE-EXPO held October 18-21 in Louisville, Kentucky.

“Members of the Green Star Award committee told me it’s unusual to win the Grand Award as a first-time entrant,” Herman said.

In selecting WCC for the honor, PGMS noted the nature trails and 65 species of trees on campus; applauded the selection of evergreens, red-twigged dogwoods and ornamental grasses to “soften the long, bleak winters;” and the beds of serviceberry, hydrangea, lilacs, daylilies and annuals featured throughout the campus during warm seasons.

It also recognized the on-campus Community Park, which is circled with flowering crabapple trees that represent each school district in Washtenaw County and symbolize the apple orchard that once occupied the land where the college is located. l