UVU Students and City of Vineyard Collaborate To Create Educational Plant Walk Along Utah Lake Shoreline Trail

UVU Students and City of Vineyard Collaborate To Create Educational Plant Walk Along Utah Lake Shoreline Trail

In a partnership between the city of Vineyard and Utah Valley University (UVU) students, a unique educational plant walk has been unveiled along the Utah Lake Shoreline Trail near Sunset Beach Park. This project, led by UVU’s botany students, aims to enhance the community’s understanding of the local ecosystem while promoting conservation and outdoor learning.

The project will include permanent signage featuring the common names, scientific names, and plant families of various plant species found along the one-mile loop near Sunset Beach Park. Each sign is equipped with a QR code that leads to detailed online plant profiles and various educational activities, catering to visitors of all ages.

The project received support from the city of Vineyard, with Vineyard Mayor Julie Fullmer highlighting the benefits of this initiative, including reducing supplemental watering, preventing nutrient runoff, and promoting pollinator habitats.

“Our partnership with UVU Professor Ashley Egan and her students is pivotal as Vineyard works to remove invasive plant species and restore native plants,” Fullmer said. “Egan’s studies and work have been to identify these plant species, preserving the native biota and creating education along our shoreline in the process.”

Amber Rasmussen, Vineyard City Council member, explained that by enhancing the trail with knowledge about native and invasive species, they aim to provide a meaningful experience for residents and visitors. They are also striving to revive the art of plant identification, thus promoting biodiversity and connection to the city's natural landscape.

Egan explained, “This plant walk will provide opportunities for community members of all ages to learn about the native and introduced plants along the Utah Lake Shoreline Trail through various activities and online learning materials. Engaged learning opportunities like this can have a profound impact on students and the community, fostering real-world application of knowledge and skills.”

The project's official unveiling took place during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on October 10, attended by Fullmer, Rasmussen, Egan, UVU students, and Amanda Diaz from the UVU Excelerate Program. The event celebrated the collaboration between academia and the community.

The collaboration between UVU and the city of Vineyard holds significant value, as it builds personal connections within the community and promotes a sense of unity among students and neighboring communities. The project is a testament to the positive, long-term effects of such partnerships on community and environmental well-being.

Sarah Daley, a botany major at UVU, shared, “I hope that this project sparks interest in someone young or old to take a closer look at the natural world around them.”

Abigail Baum, also a botany major, highlighted the lasting impact, saying, “It feels like it’s going to be a part of the community and last much longer than this semester. I loved this experience because it gave me an outlet where I could share my passion for plants and conservation with the public."

For more information about the Utah Lake Shoreline Trail educational plant walk and the collaborative efforts between UVU and the city of Vineyard, call professor Ashley Egan at 801-836-5466 or email aegan@uvu.edu