Sustainable Landscapes Trail

Landscaping sites featuring sustainable land management, plantings, and more

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The Sustainable Landscapes Trail highlights the sustainable design and ecosystems services of green infrastructure across the campus.  Our campus is being built and designed to protect and advance a diverse, thriving, and beneficial set of natural systems.  The trail features open spaces, natural areas, and landscapes with unique sustainability features. 

What is a sustainable landscape?
Landscape sustainability is defined as: the design, construction, operation and management of campus grounds to enhance and promote healthy ecosystems. Healthy ecosystems provide ecosystem services.  A sustainable landscape on a college campus is also a part of our 'living laboratory campus' - meaning each site can be used for research and education. 

Who Developed the Trail?
The Sustainable Landscapes Trail at Cornell University was developed by the Land Team of the President’s Campus Sustainability Committee.  

Why Was it Developed?
The President’s Campus Sustainability Committee (PSCC) is a steering committee of over 150+ members in topical focus teams who work across campus to promote sustainable practices in many areas of campus life, and to help design and implement the sustainable campus of the future. The Land Team is one of several sub-groups tasked with initiating and developing sustainable practices as they affect the campus landscape. The Land Team is made up of members from faculty in Landscape Architecture and Horticulture, the Grounds Department, Infrastructure, Properties and Planning, and Cornell Botanical Gardens, and includes a mix of engaged students, faculty, and staff at all levels who collaborate and innovate together.

The Trail fullfills a goal in the Climate Action Plan, in pursuit of carbon neutrality by 2035. It is also a part of the Land Team's vision: 

  • The landscape should be a learning landscape, fitting the role of an academic institution.
  • The campus will demonstrate, monitor and interpret best practices in sustainable landscape planning, design and management.
  • The campus should highlight green infrastructure currently on campus and recognize that which could be utilized in the future as the campus develops.
  • The landscape should support the goals of Nature Rx, ““to reduce stress and thereby increase physical and mental health in students through their engagement with nature, and to cultivate in students an increased appreciation of nature
  • Advocate for sustainable landscapes and practices early in the planning stages for new developments.