The lack of green space at Otis has always been known but it has become more evident in the last couple of months because of the extraction of a tree in order to place a flag and the dead grass caused by the construction area.

The Otis campus is small compared to others; the need for space has thoughtlessly dwindled green areas. Buildings have taken over the natural landscape. They replaced what was once a green area to a desolate gray expanse.

The solution to this problem could be the use of vertical gardens, also known as green walls, on a building's fa├žade, or indoors. This small transformation can benefit the Otis community by increasing aesthetic and creating a positive environmental impact.

These green walls work through the usage of framework that holds the plants in place until they have rooted. These panels are grown horizontally at first in a greenhouse. Once the plants mature and have rooted into the green wall panels, the plants are anchored into the specialized media and structure of the system. The growth of the root system expands the soil volume, pushing it against the panel, preventing the plants from falling out when the panels are turned vertically.
The green wall plant selection will have to consist of native plants, because there are numerous benefits in using native foliage.

• Lower maintenance: In a garden, native plants do best with attention and care, but require less water, fertilizer, pruning, and your time to maintain than many common garden plants.

• Reduce pesticides: Native plants have developed their own defenses
against many pests and diseases. Since most pesticides kill
indiscriminately, beneficial insects become secondary targets in the
fight against pests. Reducing or eliminating pesticide use lets natural
pest control takeover and keeps garden toxins out of our creeks and
watersheds.

• Invite wildlife: Native plants, hummingbirds, butterflies, and other
beneficial insects create a symbiotic ecosystem. Research shows that
local wildlife prefers indigenous plants. California’s wealth of insect pollinators can improve fruits in your garden while a variety of native insects and birds will keep your landscape free of mosquitoes and plant-eating bugs.

• Support local Ecology: Creating native landscapes will never replace natural habitats lost to development. However, planting gardens, parks, and roadsides with California native plants will provide a bridge to nearby remaining wild areas. Do your part by recommending native plants to homeowner associations, neighbors, and civic departments. You can also get involved with local land-use planning processes.

• Save water: Take advantage of water-conserving plants in your landscape. Once established, many California native plants need minimal irrigation beyond normal rainfall. Conservation of water saves money as well as this limited resource.

The Otis community can benefit from these green walls not only by improving aesthetics, but also improving health and well-being.

• Buildings that feature and promote access to vegetation have been documented as having a greater positive human health impact than those without (Honeyman 1987).

• Studies have shown that visual access to natural settings, leads to increased job satisfaction and productivity and post-operative recovery rates in medical facilities (Kaplan 2001 & Ulrich 1983).






-Amarilis-

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