The University of Wisconsin-Sheboygan has partnered with two local Sheboygan high schools to complete a unique “green roof” project on the campus, marking the first vegetative roofing system to be installed on a public building in Sheboygan County.
UW-Sheboygan Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Mark Schmitz, along with Tremco Roofing and Building Maintenance, have been working with students at Sheboygan North and South High School to grow the bio trays in preparation for installation of the plant material on the roof of the UW-Sheboygan Learning Resources Building. Installation will take place on Monday, June 9.
Since early May, North and South biology and botany students have been learning how to plant and care for the succulent plants selected for the roofing project.
“By getting them involved in the project at the planting stage, the students have a sense of ownership in the project,” Schmitz said. “Students can take pride in the fact that they have contributed to an environmentally-friendly project and ultimately watch their efforts grow into a lush, green roof on the UW-Sheboygan campus. They also become aware that they as individuals can make a difference and gain an appreciation for environmental issues and how we as humans impact the planet.”
The bio trays being used in the project allow the plants to grow in a limited environment and become easily transportable when the time is right for planting, according to Eric Krumholz, senior field consultant for Tremco Roofing and Building Maintenance.
After about four to six weeks of incubation, the 125 trays will be permanently planted on the roof of the Learning Resources building. Since the bio trays are made of biodegradable coconut husks, they will simply dissolve into the soils on the roof and become part of materials that the plants can feed off of.
The 20’ x 20’ area was selected as a “green roof” area three years ago when the roofing system on the UW-Sheboygan Learning Resources building was replaced. A large picture window is located directly in front of the new garden area, which will enable students and university visitors to easily view and watch the rooftop garden grow and thrive. A previous successful green roof project completed for the Milwaukee Public Museum served as a model for the UW-S project.
“This vegetative roof assembly will be the first of its kind in Sheboygan County for any government or educational facility,” Krumholz added. “Our hope is that this project will be a resounding success with a beautiful result for the entire faculty, staff, student body and community to enjoy for many years to come.”
Schmitz added that the green roof project also will highlight the many benefits of vegetative roofing, including storm water retention. The UW-Sheboygan roof project will serve as a model on how to lessen the environmental impacts of new development and project waterways from excessive run-off.
For more information on UW-Sheboygan, contact Student Affairs at (920) 459-6633 or visit sheboygan.uwc.edu