West Chester University


Landscaping & Grounds

Rain Garden at the Poetry Center (823 South High Street)

Read more about the Rain Garden in this brochure.

  • The Sustainability Advisory Council (SAC, then called the Environmental Council) sponsored a Sustainable Landscape workshop in 2006 which resulted in a Sustainable Landscape Plan.
  • The Sustainable Landscape Plan has demonstrated sustainable practices for the local community, inspiring a shift away from destructive practices such as lawn monoculture, non-native plantings, use of herbicides and pesticides, and poor erosion and water quality control.
  • SAC administers the grounds and has implemented the plan, in coordination with Environmental Health and Safety, through the construction of a rainwater garden in Spring 2009
  • Infiltration beds below surface parking lot; and
  • low-cutoff lighting.

Green Legacy Project

Every single tree (that is 1580 trees) on North Campus have been visited and measured! Global Positioning System (GPS) readings for each tree have also been completed. Why all this effort? We are committed to understanding the full range of benefits the trees provide. Almost all are aware of the beauty trees provide and how they provide homes for squirrels and numerous bird and insect species. Trees also save energy by shading and sheltering buildings, store carbon, give off oxygen, absorb pollution, and reduce runoff from storms. The data collected by student teams will be put into a USDA Forest Service computer model, which will calculate and present the results for these services, including their economic value. The results from the Green Legacy project will help WCU administrators assure the health of this valuable resource.

Student crews recorded the position of every tree using GPS. They already have measured each tree's diameter at 4.5 ft, height, volume of its canopy (leaves or needles), its exposure to the sun, and any dieback. The presence of tree decay, large dead branches and insect problems are noted.

So, here is what the model will provide:

  • Tree structure (e.g., species composition, number of trees, tree density, tree size, tree health).
  • Hourly amount of pollution removed by our trees, and associated percent air quality improvement throughout a year. Pollution removal is calculated for: ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matter.
  • Hourly tree volatile organic compound emissions and the relative impact of tree species on net ozone and carbon monoxide formation throughout the year.
  • Total carbon stored and net carbon annually sequestered (taken in) by WCU trees.
  • Effects of trees on building energy use and consequent effects on carbon dioxide emissions from our power plant.
  • Compensatory value of the forest, as well as the value of air pollution removal and carbon storage and sequestration.
  • Tree pollen allergenicity index.
  • Potential impact of pests such as Gypsy moth, emerald ash borer, or Asian long-horned beetle.

Faculty: Drs Fritschle, Coutu, Fairchild & Welch
Staff: Mr. Bruno & Dr. Hertel
Graduate Student Coordinator: Eunice Alexander
Students: Pat Gardner, Pete Groya, Ben Heivley, Kasheera Hickson, Dhanush Mekala, Rob Niremberg, Dacia Sadowski-Smith, TaraSpeck, Rachel Stern, Tom Thompson, Jen Ghigiarelli, Juliette Honsinger, Jennifer Unangst

Web site:

The Outdoor Classroom & Demonstration Garden near Schmucker

The Outdoor Classroom has been dedicated! And Audubon Pennsylvania rates is a success story. You can read an essay on how to create an outdoor garden written by Erika Szonntag, a WCU Biology Major. You can learn more about the Outdoor Classroom and Demonstration Garden here.

Outdoor Classroom Dedication

201 Carter Drive

  • Rainwater gardens