Restoration project planned for Headwaters Sanctuary

By Victoria O’Connor

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The Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, founders of the university, are in the planning stages of renovating and restoring the Headwaters Sanctuary with a three-phase project.

Last spring, the committee investigated the possibilities for restoration of the 53-acre property. The purpose of the project is to not only restore the sanctuary, but to also provide educational facilities and spiritual reflection to the public.

The first step in the first phase will be to eliminate the “invasive lawn” currently on the property, said Pamela Ball, associate director of Headwaters at Incarnate Word, a ministry of the order.

Eliminating any invasive plant species involves covering the lawn in black plastic instead of using chemicals.

The second step in the first phase is planning and fund-raising for the project. This will allow the development of a few critical elements, such as an educational facility, and the construction of a medicine wheel.

An Eagle Scout will be providing raised plant beds to place native pollinating plants.

The second phdaniel-potterase of the project will provide additional educational facilities for the public, such as bathhouses and the possibility of bird blinds. These will be used for live demonstrations for the public.

The final phase will be the introduction of an area surrounding the perimeter of the field.

While the organization is only in the early conversation stages of the project, other committees are collaborating to help out with Headwaters.

“We’ve had a few meetings with Headwaters throughout their goals and their phases of returning the grounds to its natural, native state,” said Daniel Potter, operations manager for the Office of Sustainability. “They are in the process of getting out those invasive plants that are in place currently.”

The estimated time for completion of the first phase of the Headwaters is estimated to take over a year.

Though many UIW students participate with Headwaters for community service hours, many are unaware of what the sustainability office does on campus.

“A lot of people actually don’t know we have an office on campus,” Potter said. “We are working to bring more attention to that office and launch initiatives based on areas of sustainability, whether it be energy efficiency, water efficiency or recycling. Anything and everything. We are trying to promote those initiatives.”

 

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