Environmental Monitoring

More than 300 acres of Mount Holyoke’s 700 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, coyotes, several species of amphibians and around 80 species of birds. 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.

Students work with faculty or with Campus Living Lab Manager Jenica Allen to monitor weather, water flow, water quality, forest composition and biodiversity — and build upon a network of pre-existing datasets in these areas.

Additionally courses in biology, ecology, environmental science, physical geography, geology, and history have used the historic data sets stored in the College’s Institutional Data Archive to study subjects ranging from changes in weather patterns and water quality to biodiversity and community structure. Students have also used the campus research center’s archival data for original research.

Photo of a frog in one of the campus lakes

Biodiversity & Natural History

The Mount Holyoke campus encompasses a surprising diversity of ecosystems, all with a high diversity of animal and plants.
Photo of students taking part in forest monitoring

Prospect Hill Forest Monitoring

Tree forest plots on Prospect Hill are used to observe the tree succession recovery on affected areas. Yearly DBH measurement are taken on each plot.
Photo of a weather station on top of the Clapp Laboratory

Weather Stations

Data from five weather stations is used in class lab projects and group projects by students for work on campus and by faculty for research.
Photo of students taking part in water monitoring

Water Quality & Monitoring

Data has been collected at various locations in the Stony Brook, Upper Lake, Lower Lake & the tributary stream to Upper Lake biweekly from 1996 to present.
Photo of a laptop with data displayed

Environmental Monitoring Data Archive

Explore the archive to learn more about Project Stream, long-term environmental monitoring, student research, and other projects.