Kent State’s New Climate Change Grove Supports Research and Sustainability Efforts

Kent State University is again showing its commitment to sustainability with its new climate change grove that also offers opportunities for research. The tree grove, located behind the Student Recreation and Wellness Center on the Kent Campus, was created through a partnership between University Facilities Management and the Department of Biological Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences. The trees were planted by students, Kent State alumni and other volunteers during the university’s annual Alumni Day of Service.

Catalina Pagnotta, a Kent State alumna, was glad to spend the day back in Kent during the planting event.

“It is not only an opportunity to spend the day with my two best friends from college, but also to be able to enjoy being back on campus,” Mrs. Pagnotta says.

Sunny Brick, also a Kent State alumna, had been looking forward to taking part in the Alumni Day of Service.

“I’ve been wanting to do this ­– to participate in the alumni day,” Mrs. Brick says.

Heather White, grounds manager for University Facilities Management, and Melissa Davis, horticultural facilities director for Kent State’s Department of Biological Sciences, helped organize the event, which took place in April.

Pictured are trees that were planted at the site of Kent State's Climate Change Grove. The trees support research and the university's sustainability efforts.

Ms. White feels like this is a real win for the entire university.

“It is an important initiative for the university, not just for us,” Ms. White says. “Because this is a climate change grove, we can collaborate with the Department of Biological Sciences, and we can observe how the incremental changes are happening to these trees.

“Melissa and I got talking; this was about a year ago, and we thought this would be really meaningful,” Ms. White adds. “She did a lot of legwork. I would not have been able to pull it off without her. She got all of the students here, and it is a great collaborative event.”

Mrs. Davis expressed her excitement about the teaching and learning capabilities the trees are able to provide.

“We use a lot of these species in teaching,” Mrs. Davis says. “We are modeling some climate change projections that include more southern species, which means there will be species that are winners and losers as climates change.

“The Department of Biological Sciences has very lab-intensive coursework, and our students go out and learn the local flora,” Mrs. Davis adds. “Now, we have plants that represent a climate change grove for projections in the 22nd century. What that does for our students is allow them to learn more about southern species right here on campus.”

Climate change can affect the environment in different ways. The tree grove is a great way for students to study that change while helping the environment.

“We will watch this [tree grove] grow, and it will give a flavor of what will happen when climates change in the 22nd century,” Mrs. Davis says.

For more information about Kent State’s Department of Biological Sciences, visit

For more information about University Facilities Management, visit

POSTED: Friday, June 29, 2018 10:32 AM
UPDATED: Sunday, June 16, 2024 12:22 PM
Audra Gormley