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.