The plan she helped create, under the guidance of Toensmeier, will include a multistory of shade-tolerant, edible species that are native to the northeastern U.S., including Pawpaw, Common Elderberry, American Persimmon, and American Hazelnut. The existing trees and shrubs, including the oaks and popular red maples, will remain on site and will serve as the canopy layer of the garden.
“There are a lot of really great fruit and nut species in the Northeast that are native and underutilized and part shade tolerant,” said Akrawi. “We also wanted to pick native plants because they attract the best native insects. And also, there are a lot of stakeholders involved in this process.”
The site will also include additional picnic tables and new oak benches to promote more social activity in the area.
The plan, she says, was designed to be self-renewing, self-fertilizing, and largely self-maintaining. (To be safe, the Environmental Stewardship Committee hopes to devote one student per year to upkeep of the site.)
The renovation project will be funded by the F&ES Class of 1980 fund and ESC. Yale Grounds, which has been a partner throughout the project, will provide soil, plants, and labor over the coming weeks.
Volunteers interested in helping to remove the invasive plants on April 22 can join at any stage for any duration. Lunch will be provided by the Environmental Stewardship Committee. A part of the grounds work will be supported by two student interest groups, CAFÉ and STIGMA.
On May 10, students, faculty, and staff are invited to help with the planting. Anyone interested should contact Emma Akrawi