UNMC receives Nebraska Environmental Trust grant for prairie plantings

Nebraska City News-Press

The University of Nebraska Medical Center has received $13,700 from the Nebraska Environmental Trust for the "Healing Local Landscapes: Turf Conversion Utilizing Native Prairie Plantings" project.

This is the first year of the award with a potential for second year funding totaling $7,000. The project is one of the 118 projects receiving $20 million in grant awards this year from the Nebraska Environmental Trust. Of these, 73 were new applications and 45 are carry-over projects.

UNMC’s sustainability master plan includes such ambitious 2030 goals as net-zero building emissions and a neutral water footprint. The funded project would convert three campus turf areas totaling 2.37 acres to native prairie plants.

The grant covers costs for seed mixes (and carrier), which replicate mixed-grass prairies, and are designed for an urban environment to increase resources for pollinating insects and birds throughout the growing season.

The grant also includes funding for educational signage that will highlight the prairie plantings. UNMC will pay the costs for erosion control and consultation from a local prairie landscape expert. The project aligns with institutional goals of reducing long term irrigation, fuel dependency and increasing engagement with sustainability practices.

Benefits also include increased soil health, climate change mitigation, reduced stormwater runoff and safety. The sites are highly visible in the central Omaha campus core and adjacent to the Field Club Trail. Students, faculty, staff and visitors to the medical center will have an opportunity to enjoy the native plantings and learn about these species.

The Nebraska Legislature created the Nebraska Environmental Trust in 1992. Using revenue from the Nebraska Lottery, the Trust has provided more than $328 million in grants to over 2,300 projects across the state.

Anyone can apply for funding to protect habitat, improve water quality and establish recycling programs in Nebraska. The Nebraska Environmental Trust works to preserve, protect and restore our natural resources for future generations.

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