Exploring the Richland campus: flora, fauna and quiet spots

The Richland College campus has 240 acres teeming with hundreds of varieties of plants, animals and thousands of students. That may be a surprise to those who are new to the campus, but campus veterans know all the quiet spots.

Micro Ndumoci is a first-year student from Gabon, Africa. He said he liked the lakes and “great nature” around campus. Austin Longacre, senior associate director of faculty services said, “Here at Richland College we obviously have a diverse collection of local fauna; everything from squirrels to geese, to turtles and of course, the ducks!”

When asked about the lakes, Longacre said, “I’ve heard there’s bass, some catfish down deep and I’m sure there’s perch in there too!” If you like fishing, remember a Texas Fishing License is required and watch the time so you don’t forget your next class. One evening while walking to my car on the Northeast side of campus, I encountered a fellow Thunderduck who admitted he’d been fishing in the lake since 2004.

The Demonstration Garden offers a great place to study. “It was started in 1986 by the horticulture students and was one of the best places on campus to sit around and commune and enjoy your friends,” said Dennis Griffin, grounds coordinator with the Facilities Department.

Students may have noticed trees around campus with plaques at their base. “Once you hit 20 years of service here at Richland College, you’re granted a longevity plaque with your name on it,” Longacre said. Those honored get to select a tree that is preserved for future generations.

Facility Services cares for the lake, fountains, trees and serene areas around campus. “I don’t know of a more dedicated workforce,” said Longacre. “They are the ones responsible for the beauty and maintenance of this campus.”

The northeast area of the campus is a favorite for many at Richland with its tall trees, lake, benches and the TLC labyrinth. The brass plaque on the ground next to the labyrinth describes it as metaphor for the journey of life and spirit. One can walk its path and encounter no wrong turns and no dead ends. The TLC is for teaching, learning and community building.

The grackles, geese, squirrels and turtles on campus are fun to watch. Approximately two dozen geese live on campus and compete for snacks of bread from students who take time to feed them. Some of the animals, like ducks, geese and turtles, come up to be fed.

If you would like to take part in keeping the Richland campus beautiful watch for opportunities from the Sustainability Department of Facility Services. They recently organized a lake cleanup. Close to 100 students volunteered to help.

“We were just blown away with the turnout. They were very instrumental in cleaning out debris, as well as some of the algae bloom caused by the unusually warm weather,” said Longacre. The Richland campus surprises at every turn.