This summer a group of Groundskeepers participated in the California Native Plant Landscaper Certification Program facilitated by the Theodore Payne Foundation. This unique nine-week course aims to train our team in the specialized maintenance of native plant life in support of UCLA’s ongoing efforts to improve water conservation and mitigate the effects of statewide drought conditions on our campus.
This learning initiative empowers Facilities Management to create renewed outdoor landscapes celebrating the hearty desert flora of Southern California while significantly reducing water usage across campus. Providing outdoor learning spaces that enhance coursework through immersion in culturally and scientifically significant plant life is a windfall not only for students and faculty engaged in the study of botany, but also to those studying the resources most important to the indigenous peoples of our area. Further, these creative and drought-conscious areas will serve as inspiration for campus visitors interested in pursuing drought-tolerant landscaping in their homes.
Additionally, this course offering serves as a valuable enrichment opportunity for the Groundskeeping staff to elevate their professional profiles and leverage a greater range of valuable skills as drought-resistant landscaping needs continue to proliferate across California.
Director of Custodial and Grounds, Justin Wisor, remarked on the importance of this program for keeping our teams ahead of the growing need for skilled drought response tactics.
"We are excited to provide our hardworking landscapers with the tools and knowledge to best support a Native Plant environment. As UCLA continues to focus on planting drought tolerant plants and California Natives, this skill set will become even more imperative. The drought is here and we look for it to continue for many years. This focus to native plants will help us combat that and bring beauty to the campus at the same time.
We are very proud of the continued commitment of our Grounds employees to improving the aesthetics and functionality of their landscaping projects and look forward to seeing their forthcoming creations in full bloom."