Phase 1: PLANPlanning is about strategy and making choices. Tell us about the choices you made for your project. Note: it is not the expectation that you would check every box in this area. Please check only those that apply.
1. Where is your project's biggest impact?
2. What were the goals for your project?
(1) Develop three NWF Campus EcoLeaders; (2) Cultivate three on-campus native greenspaces that support campus sustainability efforts; (3) Introduce principles of eco-wellness into the greenspaces; (4) Research the impact of project initiatives on the EcoLeaders’ personal and career development
3. What strategy did you use?
Advocacy, Community Building, Communications/Marketing, Education, Research
Phase II: DO
1. Did you accomplish the goals you set for this project? Please explain.
Through this project, three undergraduate students have completed requirements for the Campus EcoLeader Certification and are in the process of submitting their applications. We installed native plant habitats at the University of New Orleans in March with over 150 plants added to the sites. We have gotten approval to add signage to our habitats that help engage members of the community in ecowellness activities in the project area; additionally, we hosted an event in April that allowed community members to engage in a wellness art activity that will also contribute to our planting sites.
2. Choose your impact measurement from the drop down menu and provide details in the box provided (such as specific numbers or results).
We added over 150 Louisiana native plants to our habitats, including nearly two dozen individual species.
3. When did you begin and complete your project?
The project began in August 2022. We have been able to complete our initial aims as of May 2023 and have gotten approval to expand the project with new students and new planting spaces.
4. What was challenging about your project and how did you respond?
Because the project has taken place at a university, we have had to navigate several bureaucratic processes, including getting approval from Facility Services for planting spaces and signage and working through our Accounts Payable office to purchase materials. Each involved strategic communication and follow-up communication with each office. Additionally, the New Orleans area has had a particularly cold winter, which delayed our planting events and created challenges with selecting plants. The team really had to put our heads together to pivot plans when needed and ensure that tasks were completed in a timely manner.
5. Which groups were involved in this project? Students, faculty, staff or community groups?
The project had representation from UNO faculty (project lead), UNO students (student EcoLeaders), student organizations, and community organizations.
6. Was your project funded? If so, how?
The project was funded through an internal grant from the UNO Office of Research.
6. How did you communicate about this project and educate the broader campus and/or community?
Thus far, we've used social media to share about the project activities and events. We're aiming for a campus news blast in May or June.
Phase III: REVIEWPart of being an EcoLeader is learning how to design, implement and evaluate projects. Use this space to tell us how you evaluated your project and what your plans are moving forward.
1. How have you evaluated your project?
Group reflection, Individual reflection, Other
If other, please describe:
The project lead, Dr. Belser, will be analyzing qualitative interview and journal data to better understand how the project experience has helped the three students who completed Ecoleader certification.
2. What did you do after your reviewed your project?
Communicated your project results through a blog or other media, Presented your project results at a conference or meeting, Added new team members with different expertise, Applied for funding, Celebrated
If other, please describe:
We have a campus news blast in the works, and Dr. Belser will be sharing about the project at several conferences. The project was the subject of a poster presentation at Innovate UNO, a campus research symposium, back in March 2023. Dr. Belser will also start the process of seeking external funding to expand the project.
Phase IV: LESSONS LEARNED
1. What was the biggest or best thing you learned from your project?
Projects of this magnitude involve patience and grit. As with many projects, things don't always pan out as planned. When nature is involved, you are at the mercy of the weather and must have backup plans and flexibility. When bureaucracy is involved, patience and effective communication are essential.
2. What advice would you give to others working on a similar project?
Establish your partnerships early. Find out who your specific contacts will need to be within each partnership and keep them in the loop about progress, challenges, and next steps. This will help keep the process moving more smoothly. When activities don't go as planned, look for the learning opportunity, rather than focusing on what didn't get done in the way it was intended.
3. Based on your response above, what are your future plans for this project? And are there resources (people, financial, etc.) available to sustain it?
We are currently developing a long-term sustainability plan for the native plant habitats, that will involve a UNO student organization and a community organization. Dr. Belser is seeking external funding to expand the project into other planting spaces on campus and with additional student participants.
Date Added: May 2, 2023
Date Last Modified: Jun 8, 2023