Manhattanville Reid Castle In the Spring

Manhattanville College Celebrates Renovated Greenhouse


Renovated GreenhouseManhattanville College’s Department of Biology and Environmental Studies held a ceremony on October 9 to honor the reopening of the greenhouse, which had been unused for eight years.

“To me it symbolizes a rebirth of this department,” Professor Nancy Todd, chairman of the Environmental Studies, said.

Prior to the start of the fall semester, the greenhouse had been left unused since 2005 due to its poor condition. It underwent a major facelift thanks to the George I. Alden Trust giving the College a $100,000 grant for the greenhouse.

The renovations included replacing the existing structure, repairing the roof it sits on, purchasing equipment, furnishings and plants, and updating electrical, water and climate control systems. The work began in the fall of 2012 and took about a year to complete.

The greenhouse fell into disrepair due to financial constraints leading to it not being maintained properly and structural issues, Todd said. She described the renovation as “brand new” and “state of the art” because of its features which include the use of aluminum to prevent rust, and automated switches to better control the climate of the greenhouse.

“It’s designed to be much more efficient,” Todd said. Student workers will also be hired to manage climate control, water the plants, and take care of other general maintenance.

Having the greenhouse open again will allow professors to work hands on with students using “teaching plants,” which are homegrown and specifically used for class work. It will also host Todd’s upper level environmental classes and individual student’s research.

“It is endless what we can do out there,” Todd said. She mentioned planting vegetables and raising different types of bugs.

“I am thrilled to see it being used,” President Jon Strauss said after taking his first tour through the greenhouse.

Brandon Bascomb ’14 is using the greenhouse for his senior thesis, which examines the effects of the pesticide Malathion on household bamboo. He stated that he likes having a stable environment for his research. In previous years he would have had to use a classroom with changing climates which would impact his results.

“It gets rid of those extraneous circumstances,” he said.

Todd hopes to continue expanding the department by building a rooftop garden on the unused space next to the greenhouse. In addition to plants she believes the garden could also house bees, bats, or butterflies as well.