Flowers from Foss, Wildlife from WestCo

Although human activity on campus is sparse during the summer and during the COVID-19 pandemic, birds, butterflies, bees, and the occasional groundhog are enjoying the plethora of pollen, nectar, berries, and fruits the campus grounds have to offer.

Pictured are summery scenes taken from the Foss Hill and West College areas of campus on July 20: (Photos by Olivia Drake)

west co garden

Thousands of woodland sunflowers line the upper path behind West College. Ten years ago, the University offered the student organization WILD Wes a .75-acre parcel of sloping land behind the West College complex to build a permaculture site. The courtyard is now home to hundreds of species of perennials, native grasses, ground covers, fruit trees, berry bushes, and other wildlife.

A monarch butterfly drinks nectar from a thistle flower.

A monarch butterfly drinks nectar from a thistle flower in the West College courtyard.

Limelight hydrangeas are planted atop Foss Hill and overlook Andrus Field.

Limelight hydrangeas are planted atop Foss Hill and overlook Andrus Field.

berries

Once these blackberries ripen (typically in August), they will feed local birds including robins and cardinals.

A yellow-flowering shrub attracts bees and other insects at the top of Foss Hill.

apple tree

An apple tree bears young fruit in the West College courtyard.

A clump of wild daisies grow on Foss Hill under the Van Vleck Observatory.

A clump of wild daisies grows on Foss Hill under the Van Vleck Observatory.

west co flowers

Bees gather pollen from echinacea, also known as purple coneflower. These flowers are planted near the Astronomy Department on Foss Hill.

Echinacea

Bee balm, which grows near Clark Hall, is a flowering plant in the mint family, Lamiaceae. It attracts hummingbirds and pollinating insects such as its namesake, bees. The plant’s leaves can be crushed to exude a spicy-scented essential oil.

west co flowers

While swamp milkweed is toxic to humans, it’s a favorite food source for the monarch caterpillar.

wes squirrel

A black squirrel grabs a bite to eat near West College.