Brent C. Lewis is a Landscape Architect with University Facilities & Services. Before coming to Illinois in late 2014, he spent more than 13 years designing and planning landscape construction in the Chicagoland area as a landscape architect and certified arborist — a professional manager of trees and shrubs in landscapes. As part of his campus role, he serves on the Architectural Review Committee as well as the Campus Tree Advisory Committee.
He is happy to see that sustainability is becoming less of an “outsider” or “cutting edge” mentality and instead is becoming “more ingrained into our everyday actions” on the Illinois campus.
“Not every campus is so fully invested in all levels of administration (like Illinois is),” he said.
Sustainability is closely tied into Lewis’ day-to-day work. As he plans the visual and spatial organization of campus, he must think about the maintenance requirements and longevity of campus landscapes. Adding carbon sequestration as a consideration in his planning is a no-brainer.
His first step with the Agriculture, Land Use, Food, and Sequestration SWATeam will be to measure a realistic baseline of carbon emissions and sequestration from campus landscapes, food, and agricultural sources. This is the biggest hurdle he sees: It is a difficult question with constantly changing variables. He hopes that despite challenges the team will march toward its goals at a steady pace.
“I’m just happy to be a part of the process and to make sure that (the Illinois Climate Action Plan) is not just a pie-in-the-sky manual, only to be placed on a shelf,” Lewis said. “Implementing the values and goals in the iCAP will take a good deal of coordination and effort for years to come.”