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College of Arts and Sciences Newsroom

Vectren Gift will Bear Fruit for Lincoln Hill Gardens

The University of Dayton Hanley Sustainability Institute, Mission of Mary Cooperative and East End Community Services will plant a fruit orchard at Lincoln Hill Gardens thanks to a $9,800 gift from Vectren.

The orchard will be situated on a ridge west of three existing Mission of Mary Cooperative hoop houses and the urban garden on the five-acre site at 401 Nassau St. in Dayton's Twin Towers neighborhood.

"Thanks to this generous gift from Vectren, Lincoln Hill Gardens will continue its transformation into a multipurpose, educational greenspace," said Don Pair, acting head of the Hanley Sustainability Institute. "The gift also will help provide fresh fruit and educational workshops for the community."

Local nurseries Siebenthaler's and North Dayton Garden Center will provide and the University of Dayton Sustainability Club will plant the sour cherry, sweet cherry, fig, plum and pawpaw trees this spring, with dwarf apple and pears to be added later this year.

“Access to fresh food is essential in promoting healthy lifestyles, especially in our urban neighborhoods,” said Colleen Ryan, president of Vectren Energy Delivery of Ohio. “We are proud to support the Lincoln Hill Gardens with its transformative combination of educational and recreational components. This orchard will not only play an integral role in the health of residents, it will provide a beautiful landscape for Twin Towers to enjoy.”

The University of Dayton Hanley Sustainability Institute, Mission of Mary Cooperative and East End Community Services broke ground on Lincoln Hill Gardens in 2014 and have continued to develop it with assistance from Columbus-based landscape architecture firm MKSK, University of Dayton students and facilities management staff, and Five Rivers MetroParks.

In addition to the orchard and urban garden, which has produced more than 2 tons of food for more than 80 families, the property is landscaped with plants native to the Midwest as well as a natural playground with tree stumps for climbing, tree swings and slides built into hills.

Approximately 55 University of Dayton students from engineering, biology, geology, computer science, human rights, dietetics, visual arts, the Fitz Center, the Rivers Institute, and the sustainability, energy and the environment minor, work at Lincoln Hill Gardens. They assist with site design, surveys, soil restoration, and logo design and branding.

Lincoln Hill Gardens is a signature project for the Hanley Sustainability Institute, established in 2014 with a $12.5 million gift from the foundation of George Hanley '77 and Amanda Hanley. With the gift, the single-largest in University history, the Hanleys challenged the University to become a national leader for innovation in sustainability education.

Since the Institute's launch more than three years ago, students have been involved in every aspect of the it's operation — from staffing and administration to project conception and execution — in keeping with the educational mission.

For more information, contact Shawn Robinson, associate director of news and communications, at

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