Muddy patches of crabgrass were replaced with ornamental native plants to create an area where people can gather, relax and reconnect with nature, adhering to the project’s goals of environmental, human and social sustainability.

An ecologically conscious overhaul of the courtyards has been in the works since 2005, when law and urban planning professor of Tony Arnold first began teaching at UofL and saw the opportunity to convert them into a useful space.

“Any time we can bring people together to build something that is friendly for our environment, a learning tool and beautiful, that’s a good thing,” said Arnold.

Arnold’s areas of expertise include developing resilient urban centers that use resources responsibly.

The project is funded by a grant from the family of law school alumnus Charles Hebel, whose previous donations included a trial courtroom for the college.

Volunteers from the law school and the university’s physical plant began working on the plantings in late June.

Project leaders are Arnold, law school student Jennifer Grace Ewa, and Assistant Director for Maintenance Aaron Boggs.

Ewa, who is a student of the law school’s Master of Urban planning program, was inspired by Arnold’s vision to bring the university community and donors together to revamp the courtyard.

“Renovating the courtyards,” Ewa said, “is just the first step to what we hope will be a long-term beautification project that builds a sense of community within the law school.”

The effort supports the university’s overall sustainability initiatives.