Sustainable Landscape Focus Changes Staff Responsibilities at UC-Davis
The focus on sustainable landscapes has affected the way Avery assigns duties for his staff of 62 full-time employees. Because many of the campus's landscapes do not require the same kinds or amounts of traditional care, workers pick up trash, spray weeds and perform other touch-up projects for a few hours in the morning before shifting to large-crew projects for the rest of the day.
"We have found that we have really been able to manage our workload better," Avery says. "We've gone from a self-directed workforce to a directed force. We do large-crew projects. It's helped a lot in terms of training and getting people to work on sustainability."
Avery says that despite the evolving workload, the department's sustainability efforts continue to pay off.
"Our staff is pretty engaged at this point," he says. "One of the things that was a challenge for us was changed management practices. I spent a lot of time working with staff how to manage these new landscapes and how to get staff to understand how (they) benefit the campus and area as a whole in our sustainable practices.
"Instead of mowing and weeding, which they still do, they're doing more hand-weeding. They're interested in the plants because the plants look better. (The plants) are easier to maintain, but there are certainly challenges that come along with it, too, and we've done well with those challenges."