The Yale Landscape Lab brings together staff and students from across disciplines to shape the space and build its programming. Our academic year student interns bring their diverse backgrounds, their energy, their expertise, and their deep drives to engage problems and change the world. Read on to learn more about our 2019-2020 team.
In 2013, the Lab’s roots were planted in its first outdoor classroom site: the West Campus Urban Farm. The Farm’s creation was among the first initiatives to bring community together at Yale’s new West Campus following its purchase from Bayer Pharmaceuticals in 2007. In those earliest years, we tapped maple trees, welcomed local school children, and began our volunteer days to help build community through growing organic produce together.
In the ensuing years, educational programming was designed and executed, and new partnerships were built across Yale. Of our earliest partnerships, we worked alongside the Yale Sustainable Food Program to complement the food and agriculture programming at the New Haven-based Yale Farm. With the school of Forestry & Environmental Studies, we worked with students to envision a more extensive campus trail system. With these and other Centers at Yale, we identified a greater potential where the wider application and realization of student ideas could be brought to scale at the Lab.
Today, the farm serves the same purpose – engaging members of the Yale community as well as members of our local towns – but our ambitions to serve broader academic aims steadily evolved to make full use of the entire 136 acre Campus. Our landscape typologies have in turn extended to meet new needs as our partners at Yale continue to confront issues across the world and the need to address them through nearby implementation.
Students, staff, and faculty from across Yale have embraced this vision for use of the campus landscape -- creating events, workshops, and courses. From our initial footprint at the farm, our programs are now integrated into coursework at the Yale School of Medicine and Yale School of Nursing, where future doctors and nurses are connecting with the natural environment to better serve their patients. In research, we’ve partnered with faculty to analyze the microbial diversity of soil types, harvested and supplies plants for analyses of their photosynthetic properties, and investigated natural compounds for potential cancer therapeutics. In innovation and entrepreneurship, we site and support student ventures on the landscape that range in focus from renewable energy to alternative protein production.
Today, we draw partnership from over thirty departments, schools, and Centers across the entire University. Over the next five years, we will continue to diversify ever more who we work with, continue to partner on solving some of the big problems where we can make a difference, and continue to give students transformative access to the tangible realization of their ideas while at Yale.