Environmental Resources

The Integrated Program in the Environment includes a variety of offices, programs, and laboratories across campus that focus on sustainability, management, recreation, pre-historic land use, spatial analysis, biodiversity, and faith-based environmental initiatives.

Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability

The Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability (OESS) is responsible for shepherding the University’s commitment to sustainable living on campus and the environmentally sound management and educational use of its 13,000 acre landbase, the Domain. Visit Sustain Sewanee for the latest in sustainability news and stories.

Sewanee's Demonstration Forest

Approximately 3000 acres of the Domain have been set aside for management purposes (harvest, prescribed fire and other treatments). The goal is to show students what management looks and feels like and for our land base to be an example of good stewardship. Two recent videos highlight our use of local wood and prescribed fire in a restoration context.

Sewanee’s Constructed Wetlands and Watershed Science

Since June 2016, effluent from the adjacent treatment lagoon at the Sewanee Utility District has been flowing through the three experimental wetland basins. Goals of this research wetland include investigating wetland processes as a cost effective means of removing contaminants from wastewater effluent.  The wetland will also serve as a focal point for raising public awareness about water and wastewater issues. As the constructed wetland monitoring program continues, the Sewanee/University of Georgia research group will share results of water quality testing with the community on the project website.  For questions about the event, contact dmcgrath@sewanee.edu.

For additional news and updates about watersheds and water-oriented projects, visit Martin Knoll’s water blog. This blog will include news about events related to Tenneswim, when Andreas Fath swims the entire Tennessee River in 2017 in an effort to publicize water quality in the Tennessee Valley.

Archaeology Program

Archaeology, the study of the human past, crosses many disciplinary lines. The field of Archaeology is expanding in both the humanities and the sciences with the application of innovative instrumentation and techniques that allow interdisciplinary teams to address new questions spanning human physical and cultural evolution, subsistence technology and foodways, ancient migration, and prehistoric ritual. Information about Sewanee’s Archaeology Program, including a field school, is found here.

 Landscape Analysis Lab

The Landscape Analysis Lab (LAL) is a geospatial science education and research laboratory at the University of the South. Its mission is to advance the scientific understanding of the environment through the application of geospatial science and technologies.

Sewanee Herbarium

The Sewanee Herbarium contains specimens from 12 states, with a focus on Tennessee specimens from Coffee, Franklin, Grundy, Marion, and Van Buren counties. Our earliest collections are from 1948, and we collect new specimens in the present-day. We have nearly 9,000 specimens, including a permanent loan of specimens used to inform the Flora of Fall Creek Falls. We are in the process of creating our own flora for the Sewanee Domain, which consists of 1,118 taxa, along with information on characteristic habitats.

Sewanee Outing Program

The Sewanee Outing Program offers students, faculty, and staff at the University of the South the chance to explore the splendid outdoor environment of Sewanee's domain, the Tennessee region and other national parks.

Center for Religion and Environment

The University of the South created the Center for Religion and Environment in order to develop educational programs and public forums that unite environmental learning and action with faith practices. The Center connects the University's College of Arts and Sciences, its School of Theology, and its All Saints’ Chapel. It is the latest manifestation of Sewanee’s long-time commitment to the environment.

Sewanee Natural History Society

The Sewanee Natural History Society aims to revive and cultivate interest in the field of Natural History, a vitally important lens through which to view the natural world that has lost popularity in the wake of emphasis on more formal and divided scientific study. Rather than separate observation, study, and appreciation in the Earth into distinct fields such as biology, geology, archaeology, chemistry, and others, the SNHS aims to create a holistic understanding of nature. As we walk through the woods, wade through a pond, or admire a rock formation, we think of how every element of our surroundings has influenced and is influenced by what we see. The SNHS welcomes students of all fields, from the physics to philosophy, to add their unique perspectives to a blended objective and subjective love of our world.

Student internships and student-faculty research

Last summer (2016), approximately 20 Sewanee students received internal funding to work on environmentally-oriented internships or faculty-student research projects. Students worked on the Domain with faculty in the Biology and Earth and Environmental Systems Departments, on St. Catherines Island, Georgia, in Uganda, for the Nature Conservancy, on the Yale Forest, and in Haiti among other places. More information about our internships and the application process can be found at Sewanee’s Career Services.

Sewanee's Baltic Amber Collection

The Sewanee Amber Collection consists of 154 pieces of fossil-bearing Baltic amber. The amber was collected from a mine near Kaliningrad, Russia (formerly Koenigsberg, Prussia) in 1889 by American mining engineer Henry de Meli. In the spring of 2000, Geology professor Martin Knoll transported the collection to the University of Hamburg, Germany, where the samples were systematically studied by renowned amber expert Dr. Wolfgang Weitschat. Select samples were prepared and photographed by Weitschat. The photomicrographs of these samples appear on this link.