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Senior thesis project to benefit Graf Garden

With the help of UIU faculty, staff and students throughout the day, senior Ally Fink transplanted 100 new plants in the Zinita B. Graf Garden at UIU’s Fayette Campus on Wednesday, November 4. Fink’s senior thesis rehabilitation project is being funded by an environmental issues instruction (eii) grant fund.

A volunteer effort led by Upper Iowa University (UIU) senior Ally Fink is leading to the rehabilitation of the Zinita B. Graf Garden at UIU’s Fayette Campus. Fink, who is double majoring in biology and psychology, is overseeing the project as part of her senior thesis.

“I hope by creating a better outdoor learning environment for students and generating additional habitat for wildlife, my senior thesis has a lasting impact on the University and community,” the Plainfield, Illinois, native said. “I have also enjoyed being able to provide students with a service project opportunity. Members of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, Peacocks for Progress and women’s basketball team have been especially active in helping me.”

A volunteer effort led by UIU senior Ally Fink (foreground) is leading to the rehabilitation of the Zinita B. Graf Garden at Fayette Campus. Fink, who is double majoring in biology and psychology, is overseeing the project as part of her senior thesis.

With the help of UIU faculty, staff and students, Fink started removing original rock landscape from the pollinator garden in late October. In addition to the majority of vegetation being reintroduced to the plot, 100 new plants were transplanted to the site on Wednesday, November 4. The project is being funded by an environmental issues instruction (eii) grant fund.

Zinita B. Graf studied oratory and liberal arts at Upper Iowa University, earning her bachelor’s degree in 1913. She made her professional stage debut in 1917 with the Deveraux Dramatic Company, one of the most talented acting companies of its time. Her casting as Beauty in the play “Everyman” sparked a very prosperous stage acting career.

The Zinita B. Graf Garden is located near the front entrance of UIU’s Andres Center for Business and Education. The Andres Center sits on the site of the former Zinita B. Graf residence hall for women.

Fink anticipates completing the installation of additional plants, woodchip mulch and signage at the garden in spring 2021. Additional information on the project will be released at that time.

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