The MTSO campus has evolved in noticeable ways over the past decade, with 10 acres of fields devoted to Seminary Hill Farm and a solar array providing clean power to academic facilities.
The latest metamorphosis involves lawn mowing – or the judicious lack thereof. Under the guidance of MTSO Land Steward Tim Bachelor, selected campus lawns are being converted to ecologically rich prairie. The project covers a total of 3 acres on the hillside in front of Dunn Dining Hall and a plot near the back entrance to campus.
Bachelor holds a Master of Environmental and Natural Resources degree from Ohio State University. His graduate studies spanned natural resource management, sustainability, resilience, biodiversity, stream and forest ecology, soil science, and common native and invasive flora and fauna. He began his work at MTSO in February.
Bachelor said the transformation from turf to prairie will reduce the need for maintenance and harmful emissions from lawn-care equipment, and it will promote the welfare of native flora, fauna and pollinator species. This spring, he began the first step of the project, leaving the designated areas unmown to “see what we end up with – and we’ve ended up with all kinds of really beneficial species.”
On the hillside, he’s happy to see yarrow, meadow sedge grasses, plantain grass and sorrel – and virtually none of “the nasty, spiny stuff you don’t want to deal with.” Next spring, a native seed mix will be introduced, followed by ongoing maintenance to help native flora displace unwanted plants.
“It’s a lot of maintenance for the first two years,” Bachelor said. “It’s a process.”
Methodist Theological School in Ohio provides theological education and leadership in pursuit of a just, sustainable and generative world. In addition to the Master of Divinity degree, the school offers master’s degrees in practical theology, social justice and theological studies, along with a Doctor of Ministry degree.
Danny Russell, communications director