Ongoing Projects

CENRS puts boots on the ground in, and around, Portage County. 

If you are interested in joining the center on one of its service projects or partnering with us, please reach out to any staff member.  We look forward to nurturing the environment with you!

Climate Change Grove

One of the center's properties is a parcel of land behind Warren Recreation and Wellness Center on the Kent campus.  Originally established in 2018, the Climate Change Grove serves as a living laboratory for education about biological sciences, conducting research, and service projects.  One such service project is a reforestation effort, headed by Melissa Davis '10.  In the grove is a large tree dedicated by Environmental Science and Design Research Institute's inaugural Class of 2022.

Two students planting a tree sapling

Reforestation is crucial to combating climate change.  Not only do trees sequester Carbon, but they provide valuable shade which reduces energy costs and provides refuge for biology.  Trees affect air quality and provide resources to flora and fauna, by providing food, building materials, and/or habitat.

The goal of this project is to assess native tree species adaptability in the real world, based on the impacts of climate change.  In 2022, the US Forest Service suggests that sugar maples and American beech species are highly adaptable, but predictions around the survival of native black cherry and Ohio buckeye – the state tree – are not as promising.

Do you want to assist with research at the Climate Change Grove or become involved with maintaining the flora?

  • Express your interest to any CENRS staff, who can coordinate scheduling with you.
  • If you are an undergraduate student, consider applying for the Environmental Science and Design Research Institute's undergraduate Fellows Program to assist with research resources and costs. 
    Cutleaf beech tree

You can also plant your own piece of history at home by purchasing a cutleaf beech tree (Fagus sylvatica 'Asplenifolia').  For pricing, please contact Melissa Davis at 330-672-2469.  


Kent State University Facilities Management (UFM), Department of Biological Sciences, Kent State Tree Advisory Board, Environmental Science and Design Research Institute (ESDRI).


Kent campus food garden

Student carrying tray of saplings

Located behind DeWeese Health Center on the Kent campus is a small plot of land devoted to horticulture and serving as a seed bank.

In a cyclical process, a variety of seeds are planted every spring.  Every fall, the produce is collected and donated to a local food bank.  Simultaneously, seeds are harvested from existing plants.  These seeds form the majority of those replanted every spring, thus restarting the cycle.  

Additionally, the seeds cultivated from this tiny patch of land support the annual Department of Biological Sciences plant sale, which takes place every April around Earth Day.


Office of Sustainability, Department of Biological Sciences, local food banks, and Environmental Science and Design Research Institute (ESDRI).


Annual bioblitz

Research taking notes in the field

Kent State University hosted its first Bioblitz community science day in 2014, an activity which has endured to become an annual tradition.  Every year, regional experts are invited to one of the  Center for Ecology and Natural Resource Sustainability’s (CENRS) properties to mentor students and the greater community.  Together, teams explore the property, documenting all the attributes, flora, and fauna they observe.  Afterward, the information is compiled and assessed to establish baseline data, identify trends, and guide future needs.  Through CENRS and iNaturalist, data for every site is made available to researchers and students. 
Join us at our 2024 Bioblitz and Field Day on April 26th!


Department of Biological Sciences, local agencies, and Environmental Science and Design Research Institute (ESDRI).