As warmer weather approaches and we celebrate the first day of spring, Kent Hospital wants you to take a walk.To foster the wellness of our campus community, Kent Hospital is distributing a new sustainable landscapes brochure encouraging visitors to take a stroll around the campus. While walking you can note a number of gardens that highlight effective use of important sustainable landscaping principles. The brochure is available at the main entrance.
Kent recently developed this new brochure that outlines an approximate one mile path around the campus that tours eight different gardens. It lists what is in each landscape and includes key design concepts and goals for having a more sustainable garden or landscape. It also includes a list of what is planted in each garden including a variety of plants, trees and shrubs such as perennial sunflowers, blueberries, coneflowers, beach plums, bayberry and serviceberry. One stop on the tour is Kent's new productive staff garden that features raised planting beds for growing healthy vegetables right here on campus.
"While most people think of the hospital as a place to help those who are sick, we must also work to be good stewards of our campus environment," said Kent Hospital Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, Joseph DiPietro, Esq. "With nearly 60 acres of property, we must focus on sustaining our landscapes in a way that helps protect natural resources while maintaining a scenic and pleasant atmosphere for our patients, visitors and staff."
While the campus will be alive with an array of beautiful plantings and colors come spring and summer, Kent will also use some of these plantings for Petals for Patients, which is a program designed to provide a complimentary bouquet of flowers to patients in need of some cheering up.
In 2003, Kent stopped using exotic, non-native flowers and shrubs that require high maintenance and developed a lower maintenance, cost effective and sustainable landscape. Now the landscapes use minimal pesticides and build healthy soils. Our gardens also actively absorb and filter storm water runoff from rain and snow melt to help keep pollutants out of local watersheds and coastal waters and to prevent flooding.
Expanding on the sustainable landscape initiative, Kent later developed a hospital-wide program to become more environmentally friendly and sustainable called Keeping it Green. The goal of the program is to manage, minimize and eliminate the use of hazardous materials, to use renewable natural resources and limit the use of nonrenewable resources when possible.
The Keeping it Green committee focuses on recycling and provides paper and plastic bins which you may notice in locations around the hospital's campus. After the first year in the program Kent raised its recycling rate from 19.24 percent to 24.29 percent. In 2012, Kent recycled 30 percent and switched from Styrofoam to paper cups. To support healthy eating and our local economy, Kent now uses locally grown produce from Westbay (Community) Farm located right here in Warwick and sponsors a weekly farmers market, in partnership with Costa Produce, in our main cafeteria.
In 2012, Kent was honored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with an Environmental Merit Award for its effort and commitment to preserving the environment. The hospital continues to strive to find new ways it can reduce its carbon footprint and become more sustainable inside and out.
Happy Spring and enjoy your walk!