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The following points address attributes of projects that are important for a successful project in the UW-REN capstone program.

Project Size  |   Project Installation Timing  |   Site Preparation Needs  |   Project Resources
Probability for Long-Term Success  |   Educational Objectives

1. Project size
The project must be small in scope (< 1 acre) or be able to be done in multi-year phases (with UW-REN student teams in subsequent years tackling other sections of a larger site). Much of this also depends upon the complexity of the project involved and the availability of resources (human and machine). If human resources (volunteer or paid) and mechanized means (if needed) are available then larger projects can be considered. Past student teams have been successful in creating overall designs for larger sites while actually only implementing a small section themselves. The remainder of the implementation can be accomplished by the client or subsequent student teams in future years. If the project involves extensive weed management issues, complex plantings, etc., this will decrease the size of project our students could tackle.

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2. Project installation timing
Because of the sequencing of the academic year, our projects must be installed (planted) in the period from late winter to spring (March to early June). In some circumstances this can be a less optimal choice for planting than fall, but the academic sequencing constrains us to spring planting at this point. This may increase the necessity of the client and/or associates to be involved in significant maintenance through the subsequent summer. Thus, the maintenance and monitoring plan developed by the student team will likely include a critical component of immediate maintenance. The student team will work with the client to identify and develop likely means for this to be accomplished (by the client and/or associates; the student team will not be involved following the end of the academic year – usually the second week of June).

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3. Site Preparation Needs
Projects must be tenable relative to the needs for site preparation. Some situations with exotic weeds require a year or more of treatment prior to planting. Any topographic alterations (earthmoving, excavation, grading, etc.) should be complete. UWREN capstone faculty can advise potential clients in this regard during a site review visit scheduled after an RFP is submitted. Should it be determined that more extensive site preparation is necessary for a successful project, capstone faculty can advise clients and place the project under consideration in a subsequent year.

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4. Project resources
The UWREN program does not have dedicated internal resources to accomplish these projects. Our student teams have been creative and successful in working with clients to secure plants and materials in situations where clients do not have sufficient resources to accomplish a project as per the student team’s design. However, the extent to which student teams may be able to accomplish that is limited by the short time frames and educational objectives. Thus, strong preference will be given to projects where the client has a reasonable resource base to obtain plants and other necessary material for the project.

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5. Probability for long-term success
We give strong preference to projects that have the greatest probability for long-term success. Projects with a high probability of long-term failure because of conditions like continued disturbance, high likelihood of neglect, upstream or adjacent populations of noxious weeds are not favored. Projects with no obvious support for long-term maintenance (e.g., client, community group, school group, etc.) that our students can develop are not favored. Some students have set up programs with nearby community groups or schools, so long term maintenance does not necessarily have to be done solely by the client, but there must be some prospects for long term care of the site.

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6. Educational Objectives
As a fundamentally educational endeavor, it is absolutely critical that the student team be given the leeway to develop a reasonable design that works within the client’s needs and ecological constraints of the site. This project is not simply an installation based strictly upon a preconceived plan, though in the past some student teams have developed specific plans within the umbrella of a general site management plan. The client and faculty play critical oversight roles in making sure that the student team’s plan meets client and ecological objectives. However, the client must be willing to let the design be done by the student group (with guidance and feedback from instructors and the client). Both the client and the student team must be willing to maintain a dialogue of respect and consideration toward proposed ideas and concerns. Projects that involve the installation of an existing design or maintenance of a previous installation are not appropriate for the UWREN capstone.

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