Willamette University accredited for organic land care practices

Willamette University recently earned accreditation from Oregon Tilth, a nonprofit organization that promotes organic agriculture, for using sustainable landscaping practices.

Groundskeeper Mickey Cochrane and grounds manager Jim Andersen were trained by Oregon Tilth to become accredited in organic land care, committing Willamette to caring for its grounds in an environmentally friendly manner.

Willamette already manages 95% of its grounds organically. Sustainable practices include:

  • Reducing use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers by at least 90% in the past few years
  • Weeding by hand and using beds of wood chips to limit weed growth
  • Using heat as a substitute for herbicide over small areas
  • Controlling weeds with vinegar
  • Using oils that suffocate insects instead of chemical pesticides
  • Cultivating "good" insects to get rid of "bad" ones
  • Reusing coffee grounds in planting beds
  • Applying compost tea as a natural fertilizer
  • Landscaping with native plant species

Willamette's organic landscaping is part of what led the university to be recognized as first in the nation for sustainability activities by the National Wildlife Federation. In 2009, Willamette also was named one of the top 20 "Cool Schools" by Sierra magazine.

Learn more about Willamette's commitment to sustainability.