It’s green. It’s a plant. It’s… a weed?!

Have you seen our parking lot? To the untrained eye, it may appear as if the landscaping around St. Clair County Community College has taken on a “Little Shop of Horrors” appearance.

Outer-wordly, unruly weeds? A sign of the economic times? Have our Horticulture students dropped some Miracle-Grow? Thankfully, none of the students will be hearing, “Feed me Seymore,” from any of these parking lot dwellers.

Bioswales, located in the Main Building parking lot. Photo credit Liz Whittemore

Bioswales, located in the Main Building parking lot. Photo credit Liz Whittemore

The parking lot has been converted into a combination of rain gardens and bioswales. These “weeds,” that you’re seeing, serve an arguably impressive purpose.

This vegetative appearing vegetation is actually a landscape element that is designed to remove silt and pollution from runoff water in the parking lot.

“Every drop of rainwater that falls on our parking lot gets filtered through the soil before entering the river. We have a great system in place,” said Bob Hunckler, Global Energy Resources Instructor.

Within the bioswales are hardworking, native Michigan plants. Some students and professors worked together to help remove invasive species from the still maturing bioswales.

Some complaints from the community have been fielded about the college parking lots’ unruly appearance. SC4’s Green Team, which consists of college faculty and students, are working on educating and otherwise getting the word out, according to the latest e-mail updates.

Sharing information about what is going on may prove to be beneficial for students on campus as well.

Dan Chetcuti, 23, SC4 Walsh Remote Campus student said, “I have no idea what that is.”

This seems to be the general consensus on campus. Most students appear not to know or have much interest in the greening of the parking lot.

Alyssa Gustafson, 41, has landscaping experience. In her opinion, “The location of the bioswales is not good. They may very well cause future problems with root damage to the parking lot.”

To learn more about SC4’s green initiative as well as a variety of green or sustainable projects on campus, go to

Rachel Kobylas

Staff Writer

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