More than 300 acres of Mount Holyoke’s 800-acre campus comprise a rural, undeveloped landscape of lakes, streams, forests, marsh, shrub wetlands, forested wetlands, and vernal pools, making it an ideal setting for environmental learning and exploration. These habitats are home to hundreds of animal species, including beavers, otters, American eel, and coyotes. These diverse environments and life forms exist in close proximity to areas of rapid development, providing students with opportunities to study a variety of ecological processes and their responses to human activities.
The center collects data on a rich array of environmental phenomena. Students work with senior research associate Dr. Leszek A. Bledzki to monitor weather, water flow, water quality, forest composition, and invasive species. Fish and invertebrate surveys are also done.
Courses in biology, ecology, environmental science, physical geography, geology, and history have used the data sets to study subjects ranging from changes in weather patterns and water quality to biodiversity and community structure. Students have also used the center’s data for original research.