Under a bright Earth Day sun, UNC Pembroke cut the ribbon on a six-acre addition to campus that is dedicated to the creativity and imagination of the campus community.
Chancellor Carter cuts the ribbon on Pine Cottage during Earth Day as students, guests and administrators look on. The building and grounds will serve multiple purposes as a Campus Garden, disc golf course, conference site and more.
Pine Cottage, as the site is known, has already inspired a Campus Garden, disc golf course and a meeting place. Insulated into the woods, there is ample open space for growing vegetables and pine trees tower over azalea and daylily gardens.
From the moment he saw the property, Chancellor Kyle R. Carter said he imagined great things in its future. “I felt like it is a special place from the first time I walked the property,” he said. “We can only imagine how it will used in the future. It’s a beautiful place.”
“A sanctuary for uninterrupted solitude,” Eric Hunt said. During the celebration, it was announced that Hunt, Rebecca Stanton and Vivian Levan won a design student contest to design a new space.
The university acquired the property in 2013 from a local family, who were represented at the dedication by Mary Lou Lowry and her son, Heyward.
At the Pine Cottage dedication, Mary Lou and Heyward Lowry posed in the garden of their former home.
“I was seven when my father (Hughes Dulin Lowry) and I planted these pine trees,” Heyward Lowry said. “This was part of a farm that’s been in our family since the 1800s.”
The two-story house, which came much later, was built by Dulin and Mary Lou Lowry, who raised their family there. “I loved it here,” Mary Lou said. “I am sure you all will love it too.”
Heyward Lowry noted that the university’s plans for the property resemble its past when gardens, grapevines and orchards flourished. Chancellor Carter said that Earth Day was an appropriate moment to dedicate the property. He seized the moment to sign the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment.
The university’s new sustainability director Jay Blauser said the agreement makes carbon neutrality is a campus-wide priority. UNCP will “get serious” about its carbon footprint and make progress reports online, he said.
Produce and compost from the Campus Garden will help reduce the university’s “carbon footprint.” Dr. Deborah Hanmer, coordinator of UNCP’s Sustainable Agriculture Program, said the garden “will be the work of many people - students, faculty and staff.”
“We invite the campus to participate in an environmentally conscious model of agriculture that mirrors nature,” Dr. Hanmer said. “The campus garden will be a place for hands-on learning, research, workshops for the campus and community and a place to grow food for the campus and to address the issue of hunger.”
The Campus Garden will hold its first spring planting on Friday, May 2, from 9 a.m. to noon. Justin Duncan, a student and co-founder of the Greener Coalition, will be there. The student organization started last fall with two members.
“We have about 15 members now, and many more students would like to be involved,” Duncan said. “Our job is to match students to projects.
“We started with the idea of promoting local food and our goal is to have 30-40 percent of the food consumed on campus to be grown within 100 miles,” he said. “The garden will help.”
Mark Anderson, Campus Garden intern, will work in the garden this summer. “It’s going to take some care; we’re in our infancy,” said Anderson, who came to UNCP to study Sustainable Agriculture. “The whole point of the garden is to show students and the community how to grow high-value crops on a small amount of land.”
Earth Day at UNCP was packed with booths, displays and new ideas. Car-sharing company Zipcar announced plans to rent cars on campus by the hour. Sodexo announced the purchase of a new “biodigester,” which turns food waste into energy. There was locally-made ice cream too.
For more information about the Campus Garden or the Sustainable Agriculture Program, please contact Dr. Hanmer at (910) 521-6744 or email Deborah.firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about sustainability programs at UNCP, please contact Jay Blauser at (910) 521-6209 or email email@example.com.
For information about disc golf at UNCP, please contact the Office of Campus Recreation at (910) 775-4572 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.