Students bringing garden, compost system to UNK campus

UNK students leading an effort to plant a new garden and build a compost site on campus include, left to right: Isabella Gomez, Central City; Nicole Pauley, Columbus; Amanda Slattery, McCook; Anna Wagemann, Omaha; Skyler Smith, Ogallala; Marika Van Brocklin, Hastings; and Emma Keele of Hastings. (Photo by Corbey R. Dorsey/UNK Communications)


UNK Communications

KEARNEY – Emma Keele wants to build “a greener campus” and culture of sustainability at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

As part of her effort to encourage sustainable practices, reduce waste and promote healthy lifestyles, the UNK wildlife biology major is spearheading an effort to plant a new garden and build a compost site on campus.

“Our hope is that the garden becomes a very good educational point on campus and teaches people that we need to make changes to improve sustainability,” Keele said. “We think this is a good starting point for UNK in becoming an example and leader in our community in this area of sustainability.”

Keele is teaming with a group of students and others at UNK to create a garden and compost system west of the Frank Museum. Volunteers interested in helping with the project can help at an upcoming workday from 1 to 3 p.m. April 23.

In addition to assorted herbs and wild flowers, the garden will include carrots, radish, beets, onions, squash, cucumbers and beans. A mulch walkway and 3-bin compost system is among other features.

Keele of Hastings is spearheading the project with UNK students Marika Van Brocklin of Hastings, Anna Wagemann of Omaha, and Skyler Smith of Ogallala. The group recently won the UNK Talks competition on campus for their project called “A Greener Campus.” The event was organized by the UNK American Democracy Project.

Once the project is complete, student volunteers will maintain the garden this spring and summer. Food grown will be given back to students, campus organizations and community groups.

“We’re still exploring options and examining a number of ideas on how to distribute the food we grow,” said Keele.

It is hoped the compost site will be used by UNK Dining Services, as well as other campus groups, said Keele. The compost then will be used for the on-site garden, and it will be available for use by the UNK grounds crew and others for needs on campus.