A Rainy Day Reflection on the Drought.

The first rain of the season has come about a month earlier this year. It is a very welcomed visitor indeed.

Many people have been curious about how the drought has been affecting the garden. I wonder if because we as a culture are so disconnected from our natural environment, we don’t really know how, or even if, things are being affected. We hear about this extreme drought and see the brown, but are not really sure what that it means in the ecosystem. The lack of water, the higher temperatures and the dryer air have been affecting everything, and the garden is just part of that.

In the garden specifically, the drought has bought imbalance. Nature is always trying to find a sweet spot where organisms keep each other in check. With the lack of water, and thus plant growth in the surrounding areas, there has been a higher concentration of earwigs and other pests that have found a haven in the garden. This has made direct seeding plants very difficult. The gophers have also become more desperate in their search for water.

The soil of the garden has also gone into a state of dormancy. Moisture is required for bacteria and fungi to break down organic matter, as well as the transportation of nutrients and the overall health of the soil. With the soil as dry as it is, there is very little life outside of the irrigated areas.

It is my hope and prayer that this rain marks the end of our dry dormant season and that it will come fuller and more often.



Westmont Sustainability Meeting

On June 21st a group of persons interested in sustainability at Westmont gathered together to discuss steps towards a wider discussion/implementation of these topics on campus. This meeting, which was called by the VP of Administration and Planning Chris Call, was attended by representatives from all areas of campus: faculty – Paul Willis, Wayne Iba, Campus Planning – Randy Jones, Physical Plant – Tom Beveridge, John Housh, Auxiliary Services – Bill Groeneveld, Library – Robin Lang, Dining Services – Anthony Waldrop, Provost – Mark Sargent, Student Life – Stu Cleek, and a student representative by e-mail – Shea Werner.

The meeting discussed some of the little things on campus that could be done to increase sustainability, what sustainability could be defined as, and and what next steps are to be taken. The consensus was that an inter-departmental task force with a direct communication line to the E-team, would be the best method for setting a framework, measuring progress, and focusing on both large and small things that Westmont as an institution can do to further sustainability.

We at dining services are excited to see the fruits of this meeting!

Fruit Tree Planting Event on October 26th, 2012

Thank you to all of the volunteers who came out as well as the assistance of the Santa Barbara City College Intro to Horticulture Class.

Also, thanks to our sponsors: WCSA, Sodexo, Westmont Physical Plant, All Around Irrigation, SB County Waste Management, and Beard Tropics.

We planted:

10 Kiwi, 16 Guava, 8 Pomegranate, 4 Apple, 4 Satsuma Mandarin, and 2 Avocado

Some of the produce will go into the Westmont Dining Commons and some will be donated to the Westmont meal-sharing program, ‘Bread of Life’.