And so it begins

Employee in enclosed lawn tractor vacuums colorful leaves

Photo by Christopher Gannon.

Groundskeeper Joel Bender, campus services, vacuums a carpet of autumn leaves from the north lawn of MacKay Hall earlier this week. Campus services manager Les Lawson said that with more than 30,000 trees and shrubs on campus, it's an ongoing task to preserve healthy turf and keep sidewalks clear for pedestrian safety when the leaves start to fall.

The collected leaves are taken to the university's compost facility south of town where they're mixed with manure and other organic waste products. The finished compost is used in various ISU research and landscaping projects.