The University of Maryland has a growing bond with China through liaison work and programs such as the Confucius Institute. Chinese artist Han Meilin, among other famous Chinese artists, has designed sculptures to contribute to these developing international bonds. Meilin’s cast bronze sculpture, the Peace Tree, represents “Diversity in Unity”. To commemorate this gift from the Chinese Government the University of Maryland built the Peace and Friendship Garden on the vista of the Old President’s Residence. However, no irrigation system was constructed to service the garden and in the summer months the garden needs to be hand watered to prevent plant death.
After being awarded funds for the project from the University of Maryland’s Sustainability Fund in February 2012 a group of students was assembled for the project. With planning and design taking place in the spring 2012 and early fall 2013 semesters, students successfully developed a course of action to develop a drip irrigation system that would meet the needs of the plants in the area. In addition students took into account the lack of electricity at the site and developed a remote solar powered unit that would provide the power necessary for the computerized irrigation system.
With the help and support of faculty and professional mentors, notably AV William’s Technical Director Bryan Quinn and Facilities Management’s Irrigation Specialist Scott Ankrom, MDSE students were able to successfully implement the solar powered irrigation system in October 2013. Testing occurred shortly thereafter and the system’s ownership was turned over to Facilities Management. Since that time a full technical report has been submitted to Facilities Management and the Sustainability Fund detailing the work performed. Access to the report can be requested via the Maryland Sustainability Executive Board.