A space that flanks Mann Library entrance is one of only 11 landscapes in the country to be certified by the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES)

The oldest of our sustainability initiatives, the environmentally responsible development and conservation of our land resources is also an essential part of our future direction as a campus. Our land management strategies integrate diverse needs and best practices – from land development for smart growth, affordable housing that strengthens our local communities, and the stewardship of open spaces that includes protection of natural habitats and sustainable landscapes, water and soil conservation, stormwater management, and minimizing the use of chemicals for pest control and snow removal.

Critical to our sustainability efforts, the Cornell Master Plan carefully balances the future growth of the campus with environmental stewardship, the conservation of open space and strengthening our home communities. Campus development is based on a model of smart growth – combining mixed use and greater density with the protection and enhancement of open spaces, the public realm and natural resources and supporting alternative modes of transportation.

The 2,300 acre main campus has two spectacular gorges, and a wide range of open spaces including quads, a 25-acre botanical garden, a 150-acre arboretum and 300 acres of athletics fields. Additionally 4,000 acres of natural areas of ecological importance to the campus and community and over 7,000 acres of farms, forests and research plots are managed within the County for educational use. This network of working and learning landscapes and a regional green infrastructure provide essential teaching and research opportunities for our students and faculty, furthering our mission of academic excellence. Administrative and academic units are partners in this endeavor with significant effort focused on the interplay of the ecological and social sciences in fostering sustainability, utilizing the campus’ land resources and green spaces to research topics such as climate impacts of development, maximizing biodiversity, enhancing ecosystems, and natural resource management.

Initiatives