Not many people on Pacific Lutheran’s campus know where the Fred L. Tobiason Learning Center is located, but they would probably recognize it as the jungle-like area near the outside steps to the lower Anderson University Center.
One of the sustainability department’s goals for that area is to turn it into a beautiful habitat for birds and other small animals to live in. The way it is doing this is with monthly Habitat Restoration Work Parties.
This month’s Habitat Restoration Work Party took place Sunday, and the handful of student volunteers dug up weeds on the slope behind Ramstad Hall adjacent to the AUC. Sustainability provided gloves and tools for the students to work with during the rainy day.
“It’s important to turn the space on PLU and return it to its native habitat,” senior Kelsie Leu said. “We want to promote a healthy restoration site here and bring birds back.”
Throughout the day, students dug up most of the weeds, then covered the area in mulch to keep weeds from growing again. The plan for the area is to plant more trees and non-invasive species of plants, Leu said.
The Fred L. Tobiason Outdoor Learning Center was originally going to be turned into a parking lot in the 1970s, but Tobiason advocated for the area to be a learning center for the campus and a natural habitat for native birds.
Weeds and other invasive species soon overgrew the area, so those birds could no longer nest there.
In 2007, Reed Ojala-Barber — a 2011 PLU graduate — worked with the sustainability department to restore the campus grounds, and since then, volunteers have been removing the invasive species and replanting native plants, Leu said.
PLU dedicated the area to Tobiason in April 2011.
Future dates for Habitat Restoration Work Parties are March 9, April 13 and April 27 and each last from 1-4 p.m.