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Creating a Sustainable Vision for KU's Beauty
Daryl Bell
GROWING THE TEAM: The KU Grounds crew is composed of individuals striving to create a campus landscape that reflects their tremendous work ethic. Investing in a strong team is as equally important to operational success as it is to the landscape itself.

In the bustling heart of the University of Kansas lies a vibrant ecosystem of beauty and innovation. Every tulip on Jayhawk Boulevard, every native grass swaying in the breeze and every historic tree in Marvin Grove tells a story of dedication and stewardship. Behind this harmony of flora and fauna lies a visionary team fueled by passion, tirelessly working to elevate our campus to new heights — KU Grounds.

Close your eyes and envision our beloved campus stripped of its charm — a landscape devoid of color and life. While we often marvel at the splendor of our campus, the intricate connection between aesthetics and ecosystem balance may elude us. From the pollinator gardens to the majestic trees, the KU Grounds team understands the delicate harmony of our microecosystems and the grandeur they contribute to our campus identity.

At the heart of this vision lies a commitment to sustainability that echoes the essence of the Kansas prairie. Our campus, influenced by the vast expanse of our state’s landscape, aims to stand out visually as a brand — identifiable and compelling. And much like our beloved Jayhawk, completely unique. With a master plan that embraces native grasses and plants, weaving them into the fabric of the landscape, these fundamental design concepts not only celebrate our heritage but also create an identifiable representation, specific to our flagship university.

Maintaining the balance between sustainability and aesthetics requires more than just passion — it requires support. KU Landscape Manager Joe Fearn and his team, while resourced as fully as possible, often encounter situations where additional funding could make all the difference. Donor support allows the grounds crew to meet the demands of preserving and enhancing Mount Oread’s natural splendor. This includes upgrading equipment, offering the skilled crew competitive compensation and completing projects that may otherwise be put on hold.

Every gift, no matter the size, fuels the ongoing transformation of our campus into a breathtaking masterpiece. Donor support allows the grounds crew to plant native grasses, maintain historic trees and create awe-inspiring landscapes that captivate visitors and instill pride in every Jayhawk. Fearn’s passion for the campus landscape and the dedicated crew behind it are evident. “The landscape at a university — or anywhere — touches their own community in a way nothing else can,” he said. “This is where the magic happens. Our team is unified in pushing for a landscape that reflects our highest aspirations.”

By contributing to the Landscape Manager Fund, you become an integral part of our campus’s legacy. You empower the KU Grounds team alongside campus partners, students and staff to balance beauty with sustainability and create landscapes that not only “wow” today but endure for generations to come.

You Can Help
Support campus beautification through the Landscape Manager Fund. Visit to contribute.

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