CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – The Austin Peay State University campus isn’t simply a home for some 11,000 students. Squirrels, rabbits, birds and a few feral cats have also taken up residence in the bushes and trees surrounding the red brick, Georgian-style buildings. They come here because of the abundance of food, water and shelter, but they stay because the campus offers these creatures a safe place to raise their young.
Those four reasons are what led the National Wildlife Federation to designate APSU as a Certified Wildlife Habitat earlier this month. A plaque announcing this new certification was recently mounted to the Japanese garden next to the University’s Woodward Library.
“I have long wanted to see our campus designated as a wildlife habitat because we have a nice assortment of birds and squirrels and a few rabbits,” Dr. Dewey Browder, chair of the APSU Department of History and Philosophy, said.
Browder previously had his own garden designated as a Certified Wildlife Habitat, and last fall he worked to get the APSU campus a similar designation. He met with Michelle Rogers and Katherine DeWein, both of the APSU biology department and Clarksville’s Warioto Chapter of the National Audubon Society. They helped put together the application for the CWH designation.
On a cold afternoon last week, Browder, Rogers and DeWein gathered in front of the Harned Building with APSU students, faculty and staff to announce the new honor. Lindsay Jackson, the APSU landscape manager, joined them, bringing with her several elaborately decorated birdhouses and bird feeders.
“I asked the Construction Design class at the (Austin Peay Center @ Ft. Campbell) to make some bird houses, and they made some dandies,” Browder said. “One weighs 70 pounds and looks like an old tobacco barn.”
Several APSU departments and student organizations – including Phi Alpha Theta, Phi Kappa Phi, the Audubon Society and Students for Secular Humanism – purchased birdhouses. On that cold Thursday afternoon, Browder and the others set out to install the houses across campus. They will serve as a reminder of the wildlife designation.
“They will also be just little quiet areas where students can sit and watch the birds,” DeWein said.
For more information on the campus’ new wildlife certification, contact Browder at 221-7924.
Photo cutline: APSU painter Rickey Denton holds a ladder while APSU graduate student Deanna Carter hangs a birdhouse on campus. Dr. Dewey Browder, chair of the APSU Department of History and Philosophy, instructs her where to hang it. (Photo by Beth Liggett/APSU staff).