PGMS: Grounds Accreditation Principles and Practices
A column on issues of importance to the grounds management profession
Grand Valley State University’s Allendale campus and the Pew campus joined forces in achieving a four-star level accreditation in the PGMS Landscape Management and Operations Accreditation Program (LMOA). This is the highest level granted to organizations that display excellence in effectively implementing grounds management best practices. The grounds services department at the Allendale campus and the operations department at the Pew campus presented the university’s case for accreditation.
The required site visit by an evaluation team of Certified Grounds Managers (CGM) included a series of meetings with interdepartmental personnel, stakeholders and customers. In developing the accreditation methodology, PGMS determined there is value in seeing the internal and external relationships a grounds organization nurtures in executing best practices. A successful interdisciplinary approach and supportive leadership are key elements for grounds organizations that have done well with accreditation. Grand Valley State University proved to be a perfect example.
Among the university’s best practice responses during the LMOA process are these:
Record and monitor sustainable projects. Allendale grounds provided a description of 14 green roofs with maintenance guidelines and dated notes on maintenance activities. Pew campus operations presented the locations, pictures and conditions of green roofs and a rain garden. Both campuses provided and discussed irrigation and site monitoring reports.
Evaluate different staffing models. Allendale grounds discussed the analytical processes for its staffing model, which consists of full-time employees, student grounds employees and landscape contractors and specialists. A written narrative detailing the process included maps, pictures and articles highlighting grounds staffing duties and responsibilities.
Develop community outreach programs. Both campuses demonstrated exemplary work being done with community outreach programs, including the Allendale Community Fourth of July parade, a farmers market, the International Carillon Concert Series, the Fifth-Third Riverbank Run, the Caroline Tower Concerts and Art Prize.
These examples represent the best practice responses that substantiated the university’s knowledge of and compliance with the LMOA process.
For more information, visit pgms.org. www.linkedin.com/groups/4173565. www.facebook.com/ProfessionalGroundsManagementSociety