The black fence next to the Cole Complex parking lot is a sign of a State Extension Service on-campus economic development demonstration.
“Extension services outreach to farmers and producers across the country,” Annette Ericksen, Ph.D., assistant program director for Agriculture & Natural Resources, said.
The project will look for results with fruit trees plantings and low-tunnel production in small spaces using urban agriculture methods, according to Ericksen.
“We try to help people with small spaces, such as those working in coal neighborhoods or those with just a patio,” Alternative Agriculture Extension Agent Kristie Martin said.
The project will include the planting of fruit trees, blueberries, strawberries, raised beds, pollinator habitat and low tunnels, according to Ericksen.
“We will start planting in the spring,” Ericksen said.
Different areas will have plaques that tell the species and their purpose, Martin said, who called the project an outreach mission to raise awareness.
Students will be able to walk through and read information about the different areas, according to Ericksen.
“It will be like a park space,” Martin said.
“As for the fence, it is a controlled area, and we have to keep out animals. Some of the chemicals we use on the fruit trees could be harmful to animals,” Martin said.
“We have to keep them a certain distance from public buildings,” Ericksen said.
“The pesticides we use are organic,” Martin said.
“When these pesticides are in use, we will put up signs,” Ericksen said.
Extension services is involved in other projects, such as keeping track of all the trees on campus, Ericksen said. “Our campus is considered a tree campus, recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation.”
“We have over 300 trees on campus,” Martin said.
Extension services paid someone to tag all the trees and tell the species. how healthy they are and their location, according to Ericksen.
In the future, an app may allow students to locate the trees on campus and maybe even adopt a tree, according to Ericksen.
Students interested in garden design or who want to help can contact Extension Service, according to Ericksen. Their e-mail addresses are: