Last week, the Sara G. Manning Greenhouse was officially dedicated in a ceremony that also unveiled the new portrait of President Emeritus Manning in the lobby of the MAC building, and dedicated the new Dell Family walkway. The greenhouse is especially exciting for the biology department as it expands and diversifies our laboratory space.

For plant and soil scientist Dr. Sam Obae, the greenhouse will be a space for “plant growth experiments that will investigate effects of various environmental variables on phytochemical production and accumulation in high value herbaceous medicinal plants.” For him and Dr. Mark Norris, a forest ecologist, the greenhouse will expand the range of possible experiments from strictly observational to manipulative experiments that examine the effect of specific treatments. It will also provide a space for aquaponic studies – a potential collaboration between Dr. Norris and marine biologist Dr Keith Johnson that will study the interaction between plants and aquatic animals.

The new greenhouse will also be a space for teaching. Botany students will learn plant propagation techniques while BIO 114 students will be able to conduct plant growth experiments. With the new space, it will also be possible to add plant growth experiments into other introductory biology courses. Botany (taught by Dr Obae) and BIO 114 will begin conducting experiments in the greenhouse in fall 2017.

The new Sara G. Manning greenhouse also opens up possibilities for use outside of the teaching and research. In the future, this space could allow Stevenson to establish a native plant garden or to house plants grown by students groups for fundraisers.

We are exceptionally grateful to the Mannings for their generous donation and can’t wait to try out the new space!