Project SEED

EcoTopic / Project Category
Education & Awareness, Habitat & Wildlife, Outdoor Education & Leadership
Project Goal Summary
Project SEED is an applied eco-leadership development initiative centered on environmental sustainability and eco-wellness. Through this project, three UNO students will complete National Wildlife Federation (NWF) Campus EcoLeader Certification by cultivating and maintaining three on-campus greenspaces that support native biodiversity and campus sustainability efforts. In addition to providing signage meant to educate the campus community on the contents and ecological benefits of each greenspace, the students will incorporate signage that promotes eco-wellness.

Project SEED has four primary goals: 
  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

Introducing native plant species into campus greenspaces reduces needed grounds-keeping and maintenance efforts and also creates habitats for native wildlife and insect species. Additionally, such greenspaces provide opportunities for the campus community to experience and commune with the natural elements of campus in ways that support positive mental health and wellness.

Project SEED will combine efforts promoting sustainable natural infrastructure elements on the UNO campus with opportunities for three students to participate in applied project-based learning. Outcomes of the project will inform future student-led sustainability projects, as well as a preliminary understanding of how these projects impact participants’ personal and career development.

EcoLeaders Involved:
Dr. Christopher Belser
Emily Miller
Arden Kleinpeter
Genesis Santiago
Project Location
2000 Lakeshore Drive
New Orleans, LA 70148
United States
Project Goals and News
Project Updates:
  • As of Summer 2023, the project has made significant progress with all four project goals. Additionally, a no cost extension has been approved for the project to move into AY2024.
  • In March 2023, the project team gained final approval for the two planting sites, select plants for the sites, hosted a site clean-up day, and hosted a planting day in which the plants were installed. Both the clean-up day and the planting day involved volunteers beyond the project team.
  • In April 2023, the project team participated in UNO’s Earth Day event and engaged participants in a wellness activity related to the gardens. The three student leaders finished their applications for the NWF EcoLeader Certification and the PI has a timeline for completing the research aims of the project.
  • Activities have been led by the PI and the three student leaders and have involved UNO students, UNO Gardeners, Master Gardeners of Greater New Orleans, and the Native Plant Initiative of Greater New Orleans.
Project Metrics
  • 3 students have completed the NWF Campus EcoLeader certification, and the PI has completed the Community EcoLeader certification
  • The project has earned EcoLeader Project Certification, and the planting sites have earned certification as a Louisiana Certified Native Plant Habitat (Native Plant Initiative of Greater New Orleans) and NWF Habitat certification.
  • We have hosted 2 volunteer events and 1 educational event thus far
  • The project thus far has involved 10 UNO student as project staff or volunteers, around 45 UNO students in a wellness activity, 1 UNO faculty member, and 3 UNO staff.
  • The project thus far has involved 2 community organizations and approximately 20 community members
  • Thus far, the project has resulted in 1 Innovate UNO presentation with other presentations and publications in the works.
  • In July, we began adding signs to the sites that are aimed at helping students, staff, faculty, and guests to engage in the campus spaces for wellness purposes (see example below).  We will add similar signage to other areas of campus.

From our Habitat Certification Event.


Tag Your Project
native plants, ecoleadership, sustainability, ecowellness
File #1
Project SEED Plant ListProject SEED Plant ListList of native plants installed in the gardens3035 KB

Project Feedback

I love your goal to incorporate eco-wellness into the green space. I have never thought of that as an active goal, just as an assumed benefit. 
  • Posted Mon 26 Jun 2023 07:33 PM CDT
Emily Miller‍, Genesis Santiago, and‍ Arden Kleinpeter‍ are also working on this project.
  • Posted Fri 30 Sep 2022 03:24 PM CDT
Thanks so much for sharing this project! I look forward to following along on the progress and supporting the efforts however I can. Keep up the great work!
  • Posted Tue 23 Aug 2022 07:24 PM CDT

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Date Added: Aug 23, 2022
Date Last Modified: Jul 18, 2023

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