Photo of Donald E. Davis Arboretum Group staff with their Spirit of Sustainability Award

Donald E. Davis Arboretum staff with their Spirit of Sustainability Award.

Donald E. Davis Arboretum — Group

Auburn University, Auburn, AL

The Davis Arboretum provides visitors with a setting for reflection and relaxation and place to dwell in a natural setting. The primary purposes of the Arboretum are conservation, education, and research on ecosystem preservation and diversity. The Arboretum shows plants growing in the special habitats that exist in the state of Alabama, such as rocky hillsides, stream bottoms, pond edges, salt spray influenced sand dunes, pitcher plant bogs and the alkaline soil of the Black Belt Prairie. The Arboretum’s management philosophy is to allow and encourage native species and habitats, while trying to eliminate or control species that are invasive.

Over the past several years, the Arboretum staff has committed to educating the campus community and the public about the relationship between land use, land cover, and the impacts of stormwater runoff. To do this, the Arboretum staff implemented numerous low impact development (LID) practices. These include an integrated system of pervious parking and walkways, small and large scale rainwater harvesting systems, rain gardens, an innovative network of underground stormwater detention, and a self-guided Water Tour of these innovations.

These LID practices go well above and beyond the arboretum’s original mandate. They demonstrate a strong commitment to sustainable management of land and water and the importance of educating and empowering others in the art and science of sustainable watershed management. Thousands of community members and hundreds of students are introduced to the principles and practices of nature-mimicking stormwater management techniques each year, and many visitors have participated in Arboretum-sponsored trainings that equip the public to implement these practices at their homes and in their communities.