Campus Landscape

The combination of treescape and grounds at Agnes Scott give the college its well-known feeling of being “transported” from the surrounding city. Our landscape spans roughly 100 acres. The south side of campus is mostly untouched and is known as our "woodlands" area.

The department of Facilities largely manages the college’s landscape with outside contractors who focus on lawn maintenance, tree care, and tree pruning. The primary portion of landscape care is done in the main campus area where residential halls and academic buildings are located. The work done in the south side of campus is mostly the removal of dead trees and invasive species.

Facilities and the Center for Sustainability work together to enhance the sustainability of the landscape to fit the goals of the college. Examples include planting native and drought-resistant ground cover plants and trees, removing invasive species using goats, volunteer efforts to avoid using fossil-fueled machinery, and maintaining more than 50% tree canopy across campus. 

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Agnes Scott has an extensive tree canopy.

Agnes Scott also has its own organic garden

In 2018, we were certified as a Bee Campus USA

All the trees on campus make up the Agnes Scott College Arboretum, a collection of woody plants for display, education, and research. Approximately 2,000 trees are spread out across our 100 acres, which make up 54% canopy coverage as of 2018.
The college has been a certified Tree Campus USA since 2012 and has applied for re-certification every year after. It is also a Level II accredited arboretum certified by ArbNet since 2019. This designation requires having 100 or more unique species of trees and meeting arboreta and landscape practices required for Level II certification. No other international program of accreditation exists that is specific to arboreta. Every year in February, Agnes Scott adds to its collection of trees by planting honor trees in celebration of Georgia’s Arbor Day. Employees of the college with 25+ years of service can opt to have a tree planted in their name. 

The Arboretum itself is a reflection of Agnes Scott’s liberal arts curriculum. Staff and faculty from different departments—classics, art, biology, anthropology, environmental and sustainability studies, women’s gender and equality studies—facilities, ITS, communications and sustainability came together to create it. They also developed its website, tours, and the Arboretum Advisory Committee. 

The college uses a consulting arborist to provide the best decisions in terms of care, tree species and planting placement, and risk assessments. We have also recently adopted a 2020-2025 Tree Care Plan, which was written by a sustainability fellow with guidance from the consulting arborist and executive director of the Center for Sustainability. The tree care plan contains information about all aspects of the arboretum, including best management and care practices, education and service goals, the honor tree program, ecosystem services benefits of trees, and tips for other institutions to create their own tree care plan. 

Managed by Agnes Scott alumnae Lois Swords (‘77), our organic demonstration garden is a fantastic way for students to see the true origins of their food. Lois is an organic gardening expert who guides interested students in planting, cultivating, and harvesting small yields of crops. While the types of crops vary by season, past harvests have included kale, garlic, onions, arugula, beets, and swiss chard.

Because of the garden’s placement near the college's athletics complex, families and Decatur community members passing by can also benefit from the garden. It’s not unusual to see Lois giving a bit of gardening advice to a passing parent, or to students on the way to a soccer game. Visitors to the garden also include many different types of pollinators that come to feed and rest among the variety of flowers and herbs. It's easy to get lost in all the buzz in the spring and summer times. The pollinator garden engages students passionate in preserving and protecting pollinators, such as those in Agnes Scott’s Bee Society. It is also a place for citizen science to take place during the pollinator census that Lois leads with interested members of the Agnes Scott community. 

Though the garden is too small to supply food to Agnes Scott’s dining hall, the yield of the harvests often make their way into the kitchens of students, faculty, and staff, making sure that our community benefits from the local, organic produce that the garden provides!

Certified in January 2018 as a Bee Campus USA, Agnes Scott College commits to:
  • Establish/maintain a Bee Campus USA Committee or Subcommittee 
  • Develop and maintain a Campus Pollinator Habitat Plan to include a locally native (indigenous to your ecoregion), pollinator-friendly plant list with regional sources for such plants and an integrated pest management (IPM) plan. The plant list and IPM plan should be publicized and available on the web to offer a valuable landscape-management model applicable to other local landscapes. 
  • Host an annual campus event(s) to raise awareness of the importance of pollinators 
  • Annually sponsor and track student service-learning 
  • At least biennially offer a pollinator protection course 
  • Post signage regarding pollinators
  • Maintain a webpage on the institution’s website to share your Bee Campus USA news and activities
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