“The character of the Yale campus is felt in and defined by its open space as well as by the quality of its buildings. These landscape settings require a focused, intense stewardship to maintain their special role in life at Yale.

– Yale A Framework for Campus Planning

Yale’s 437 acre main campus is comprised of its Central and Medical campuses which are located in the urban city of New Haven, Connecticut. Yale’s West Campus, located in Orange, Connecticut, and was acquired from Bayer Pharmaceutical in 2007. This 136 acre campus includes an urban farm and the Yale Outdoor Education Center.

Additional land holdings include almost 11,000 acres of forest land, 70 acres of natural lands administered by the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, 2,100 acres of recreational spaces, and the 300 acre Golf Course which includes a 215 acre nature preserve.

Yale's open spaces, courtyards, gardens, sidewalks and athletics fields are integral features of the campus community.
Urban Ecosystem Services Approach

Yale uses an ecosystem services framework to plan, design, and manage campus lands. Green infrastructure goes beyond landscaping for recreational and aesthetic purposes and provides additional benefits to humans, wildlife, and habitats. This approach:

  • considers how landscape decisions fit into existing campus systems (i.e. built form, landscape and open space, circulation, utilities, and signage).
  • evaluates landscape projects based on ecological performance and their impact on the local, regional, and global human and non-human populations.

Integrated Pest Management
Yale University practices Integrated Pest Management (IPM) as a means to control unwanted pests on all Yale grounds. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines IPM as “a long-standing, science-based, decision-making process that identifies and reduces risks from pests and pest management related strategies. It coordinates the use of pest biology, environmental information, and available technology to prevent unacceptable levels of pest damage by the most economical means, while posing the least possible risk to people, property, resources, and the environment.“

Urban Meadows, Rain Gardens and Compost Tea Projects
Yale’s urban meadows, rain gardens, and compost tea initiatives address stormwater runoff, erosion, biodiversity, soil quality, and emissions. These initiatives also provide collaborative opportunities to incorporate faculty knowledge and student learning.

Campus Tree Inventory
Yale conducted a baseline tree inventory analysis in 2008. Subsequent updates have been done by graduate students funded by the Hixon Center for Urban Ecology and managed by the Urban Resources Initiative. Read about their assessment and recommendations or view the inventory.

Yale Experimental Watershed 
The Yale Experimental Watershed was developed during a Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies course in 2011 and provides Yale with a strategy to create a five and one-half acre wetland and wooded area on upper Prospect Street. This large bioswale is a prime location for outdoor education, experimentation, and academic research.

Funding from the Hixon Center for Urban Ecology provided a site assessment and an in-depth assessment of hydrology and soil exemplifying the use of the swale as a living laboratory on campus. 

Yale Farms
Yale’s Sustainable Food Project manages a one-acre organic farm where students, faculty, staff, and New Haven community members come together to experience the connection between land and food. Four-season production teaches students the principles of sustainability and the practices of sustainable agriculture. The West Campus Urban Farm offers programs specific to the West Campus community, including the Yale School of Nursing students and researchers in the health disciplines and natural sciences.