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Grounds Director Steve Gooch presenting to conference attendees
Grounds Director Steve Gooch speaks to attendees at the Blue Zone

Grounds Services recently welcomed peers from across the country to our beautiful and historic campus, as UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University cohosted the Professional Grounds Management Society’s 2024 Regional Conference on March 25 and 26. More than 100 grounds professionals from colleges and universities, hospitals, municipalities and other organizations were in attendance, and the conference featured a variety of educational sessions and tours of each campus.

The conference kicked off Monday at the Blue Zone at Kenan Stadium. Following a morning of sessions focused on stormwater management and work/life balance, the group set off in the afternoon for a walking tour of the Carolina campus and to learn more from our Grounds Services team about how they care for and maintain our campus landscapes.

University Arborist Tom Bythell speaking to attendees at the Davie Poplar
University Arborist Tom Bythell shares the history of the Davie Poplar

As the tour group crossed the Rams Head Plaza, they learned about the 53,800-gallon cistern system that is integrated under the sidewalks and collects rainwater that is used to irrigate the plaza lawn. Standing in the shade of Kenan Woods, attendees heard about ongoing efforts to conserve and regenerate the woodland surrounding the stadium. And no campus tour would be complete without a stop at the Davie Poplar. The 300-year-old tulip poplar, older than the University itself, has endured a lightning strike and several hurricanes, but under the care of our Grounds Services team continues to stand tall in McCorkle Place.

“It was our privilege to introduce and showcase our campus to peers from around the country as representatives of UNC Facilities Services,” said Grounds Director Steve Gooch. The regional conference also provides grounds managers the opportunity to network with and gain knowledge from their peers. Gooch says it’s all about the people. “Policies, procedures and processes help keep us between the guard rails, but it is the people who provide the energy to propel us forward and specifically the relationships we cultivate.”

PGMS Regional Conference Photo Gallery

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