NYU Earns a Green Star Honor Award from the Professional Grounds Management Society


The annual awards program brings national recognition to grounds maintained with a high degree of excellence and recognizes individual professional efforts leading to a high quality appearance of the landscape

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Tulips and cherry trees on Bleecker Street, NYC

The annual awards program brings national recognition to grounds maintained with a high degree of excellence and recognizes individual professional efforts leading to a high quality appearance of the landscape

New York University (NYU) has been presented a Green Star Honor Award for 2015 in the Urban University Grounds category for exceptional grounds maintenance by the Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS). The PGMS Green Star Awards bring national recognition to grounds maintained with a high degree of excellence, saluting grounds superintendents responsible for maintaining a well-manicured landscape year round.  The awards were presented October 23, 2015, during the 2015 PGMS School of Grounds Management held in conjunction with the GIE+EXPO in Louisville, Ky.

“We are honored that the Professional Grounds Management Society has chosen to recognize NYU’s Sustainable Landscaping team with a 2015 Green Star Honor Award for their hard work and long-standing contributions to our urban campus,” said John Bradley, Associate VP for Sustainability, Energy, and Technical Services at NYU.  “The inner-city nature of our campus presents many challenges for landscape maintenance, design, and tree care, but they are an important part of our commitment to sustainability.  We take very seriously our leadership role in contributing to the educational environment through sustainable landscaping, and we are very gratified by this recognition.”

NYU, located in the historic Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, maintains some six (6) acres of grounds, fragmented into approximately 30 areas ranging from 100 square feet to 60,000 square feet along with 108 sidewalk planters.

“It's so gratifying that the nation's top campus grounds managers have recognized NYU's excellent stewardship of its home in Greenwich Village,” said NYU’s Supervisor of Sustainable Landscaping, George P. Reis.  “From a bumper crop of chives on a green roof to formal and naturalistic gardens, NYU's grounds are eclectic and ambitious, reflective of the rest of the University and the surrounding city.”

NYU Landscaping maintains over 500 trees on its properties, and assists in the caring for an additional 200 trees on city properties (sidewalks and parks) which are adjacent to NYU’s properties.  These efforts were recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation certifying NYU a Tree Campus USA in 2012.  The national program honor colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals.

NYU Landscaping’s practices are guided by the NOFA Standards for Organic Landcare, using organic herbicides and mechanical approaches to pest control. Turf management has also moved to organic starting in 2015, with application of organic fertilizer, compost top dressing, aeration, and hand pulling of weeds.

“This award is about the future, about keeping the sustainable landscaping momentum going with continuous improvement, striving to make NYU a national model for what densely urban landscapes can truly achieve,” said Reis. “If we can make green spaces here, you can make them anywhere!”

Select comments from PGMS judges on NYU’s landscape:

"Great emphasis on both the installation of sustainable plans and use of sustainable maintenance programs; wonderful to hear that native plantings are being incorporated into an urban landscape. IPM and reduction of pesticides as well as no irrigation on the green roofs are all great for sustainability."

“…gardens neat and clean; good plant variety; good mulching around trees root flair visible; good color combos and use of bulbs and annuals to enhance the gardens; Great job maximizing small spaces. Plant usage looks diverse; Good use of annuals, perennials, and woody material.  Hardscapes were exceptionally clean. Good use of green roofs; Good use of annuals, perennials, and woody material.  Hardscapes were exceptionally clean. Good use of green roofs.; despite all the challenges of being in the center of a heavily urban area, this campus looks fantastic -great use of color in annuals/perennials, green roof looks successful and lush.  Great spring bulb display…”

The Green Star Awards are offered in 15 categories, covering all types of private, public commercial, and industrial landscapes.  PGMS is an individual membership society of grounds professionals advancing the grounds management profession through education and professional development.  Past winners in Urban University Grounds category include:  Columbia University; University of Chicago; Fordham University; University of Texas – Austin; University of Rochester; Baylor University; Southern Methodist University; University of Pittsburgh, among others.

NYU Landscaping is responsible for the design, installation, and maintenance of the urban green spaces that welcome people to NYU’s Washington Square campus. NYU Landscaping employs best practices of eco-friendly open spaces and the latest thinking in urban ecology to provide beautiful and healthy city landscapes for the enjoyment of the University and the surrounding community. These practices aim to create high-performance urban open spaces without needlessly exposing people or the environment to harmful chemicals. NYU Landscaping aims to reflect the values of a global research university engaged in public service.  Follow NYU Landscaping on Instagram

About The Professional Grounds Management Society--Founded in 1911, PGMS is an individual membership society of grounds professionals dedicated to advancing the grounds management profession through education and professional development. Further information on PGMS, the Green Star Award Program and the annual School of Grounds Management & GIE+EXPO is available online at www.pgms.org.


Chives on the Green Roof at 238 Thompson Street


PGMS Past President John Burns, CGM, presents the 2015 Green Star Award to NYU Landscaping's George P. Reis, M.S.L.D.

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