CLC's planned sustainability trail gets new name

The 'Living Lab' should be finished later this year

 
 
Updated 7/3/2018 7:51 AM
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  • The greenhouse on the Grayslake campus of College of Lake County will be one of several stops on the planned Living Lab Trail that college staff hopes is completed in September or October.

      The greenhouse on the Grayslake campus of College of Lake County will be one of several stops on the planned Living Lab Trail that college staff hopes is completed in September or October. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

The guided path that will connect and highlight the many environmental and sustainable features at College of Lake County's Grayslake campus has a new name, a target completion date and a planned unveiling for the wider environmentalist community.

The path was conceived as a sustainability trail but David Husemoller, CLC's sustainability manager, said college officials realized it would do more than that.

"We were thinking about the name and said the point of the trail is to guide visitors around campus so people could use the campus as a living laboratory," Husemoller said. "So why don't we just call it that?"

The CLC board of trustees agreed and last week approved the new name -- The Living Lab Trail.

Husemoller said the project is going out to bid soon and is hopeful the work will be completed in September or October. The trail will mostly use existing sidewalks and gravel paths. A lot of the outstanding work will be in designing about 30 information signs and installing them around campus.

The trail will wind past stops such as Willow Lake, the arboretum on the east side of campus and the prairie land to the north. It will also pass CLC's sustainable agriculture features, such as the collection of beehives and the sustainable farm that grows food for students.

Some stops will need more explanation than others. For example, officials anticipate erecting a sign on the west side of campus to mark the presence of the underground geothermal wells. Without the sign explaining that massive pumps draw ground water -- always around 55 degrees -- from deep wells to help warm the building in the winter and cool it during the summer, visitors would see only a patch of grass.

While the Living Lab Trail's target audience is learners in Lake County, in mid-November people from across the country will be in Grayslake to check out the trail.

Husemoller said people going to the United States Green Building Council's national convention in mid-November in Chicago are going to stop by.

"This trail will be a feature for people coming to the convention," Husemoller said.

It's fitting that members of an important green organization should be coming to get a look at the trail because the trail might not exist without the wider environmental community.

CLC began planning the trail two years ago when it received the Green Genome Award from the American Association of Community Colleges.

The association recognized the college's strategy to unify its green and sustainable initiatives.

The $10,000 prize will help pay for the project

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