The Erie campus is undergoing a slight facelift. The Office of Sustainability and the Mercyhurst Sustainability Committee have unveiled a new hybrid floral and edible garden in honor of Sister Maura Smith, RSM.
The Sister Maura Smith Peace Garden honors the 2009 recipient of the Mercyhurst University Sustainability Award, given for her contribution to launching the Mercyhurst Green Team with history professor Chris Magoc, Ph.D., in 2000. It is situated behind Warde Hall near the Sisters of Mercy Motherhouse.
“The Sustainability Committee always gives the award winner a gift of some sort,” said Brittany Prischak, sustainability officer. “Sister Maura had asked if we could give back to the university; she didn’t want anything for herself. We proposed a garden in her name, and she selected her favorite flowers and plants. She is very excited.”
Victoria Gilbert ’13, a business major and sustainability minor, whose involvement in the garden was part of her capstone project, headed the floral component of the garden project. Sophomore Lucy Koelle, a sustainability major, was a key player in incorporating the edible landscaping. Keiko Miller, assistant professor of Japanese, Prischak and Magoc, also lent a helping hand.
Once the garden is finished, it will include two benches and signage that invites visitors to graze on the fruit that grows. The garden will include a dwarf apple tree, a dwarf cherry tree, strawberries, blueberries, onion and oregano. In terms of non-edible plants, the garden will grow violas, pussy willows, holly, hydrangeas, junipers, phlox, peonies, day lilies and hostas.
The Sister Maura Smith Peace Garden was funded in part by the Office of the President, physical plant director Ken Stepherson, and the Office of Sustainability.
The Office of Sustainability, which will be responsible for maintaining the plot, invites students to help tend the garden. Volunteers may contact Prischak at 814-824-3829, or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PHOTO: Brittany Prischak in garden