Cook/Douglass Living Laboratories

The Campus as a Living Lab

The Cook/Douglass campus is currently used by several professors as a teaching tool and for research. Considering the amount of classes that take place on campus, however, the campus is highly underutilized. Only a few areas on the main part of the Cook/Douglass campus are utilized as a resource. Much of the campus south of Route 1 is used for research, but has the potential to be used by more classes.

Click on the names below to learn more about these locations.

A. Chrysler Herbarium

The Chrysler Herbarium is used for research and educational purposes. A few professors use the Herbarium for class. More information can be found at

B. Raritan River

Several classes currently use the Raritan River. Parasite Ecology collects samples out on the river, and if funding is available, a Bryne seminar on NJ and NY Waterways will go out on a boat and collect river data. The Human Interactions with the Coastal Ocean course also uses the Raritan. There are opportunities for student internships with organizations and agencies in the Raritan River basin through the Raritan Scholars course.

Sustainable Raritan River

C. Rutgers Dining Facilities

On the Cook/Douglass campus, Rutgers Dining Facilities have a partnership with the Nutritional Sciences Department. Their facilities are used for the Quality Food Production course and a Bryne Seminar. Various student groups and classes also tour the Dining facilities and talk to Dining staff.

D. Floriculture Greenhouses

The Floriculture Greenhouses host a few research projects but are mainly used for teaching purposes, including in Introduction to Horticulture, Plant Ecology, and Fundamentals of Evolution. There is potential for more teaching and more involvement from other departments.

E. Blake Hall

The Landscape Architecture Department frequently uses the space behind Blake Hall for construction projects for studios, Construction, and Material Tectonic classes. Entomology also uses the space for construction, but less frequently.

F. Passion Puddle

Passion Puddle is used for sampling and sampling demonstrations and by Marine and Coastal Sciences. The area around the Puddle is used for surveying and plant classes.

G. New Brunswick Community Farmers Market

The New Brunswick Community Farmer’s Market and community gardens in New Brunswick are used by NJAES as teaching opportunities and living learning environments for food education and food access.

H. Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health

The Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health houses the Healthy Eating Courtyard, which is meant to teach healthy eating habits and will be the site of some experiments in which certain aspects of the courtyard will be adjusted to see how students react. IFNH also features a living EcoWall in the building, open concept labs, and open office space. It serves as an example of a LEED Silver building.

I. NJAES Research Greenhouses

The NJAES Greenhouses are currently 100% research, with dozens of research projects across several different departments. The Greenhouses host tours and are slightly used in the Greenhouse System Management course.

J. Cook Organic Garden

The Cook Organic Garden is an opportunity for students and the larger Rutgers community to learn organic gardening. It has also been used by the Weedy Plants Bryne Seminar. For more information on how to get involved, check out their website.

K. Cook Farm

The farm on Cook Campus is deeply tied with the Animal Science program. Each animal on the farm has an associated practicum. The farm is also used for the Animal Nutrition lab, Comparative Anatomy, Production Animal Management, Farm Management, and Animal Fitting and Showing. Many more courses use the farm for a class or two. For example, some biology and ecology classes use the farm for a few labs, and Environmental Microbiology uses the fistulated cow’s rumen. There is also a teaching herd of horses on campus (the Rutgers University Teaching Herd, or RUTH) that include foster horses. The Equine Exercise Physiology Lab is a huge learning experience for students with its full working horse skeleton model and horse treadmills.

L. Rutgers Gardens

Many classes use Rutgers Gardens and Helyar Woods, but it is hard to know all that goes on there. Plant and plant identification classes are frequent users. Other classes include Ornithology, Environmental Education, Air Photo Interpretation, Intro to Environmental Design, and Material Tectonics. Some research is also done at the Gardens and Helyar Woods. However, lack of awareness and lack of easy transportation to the Gardens limit its full potential as a living laboratory. Rutgers Gardens is also the home of the Student Substainable Farm, another Living Laboratory

M. Ryders Lane Equine Farm

The Ryders Lane Farm provides a unique opportunity for equine research and education not found at many other universities. It offers a huge learning experience for students, but similar to the Rutgers Gardens, it faces challenges with visibility and student accessibility.

Equince Science Center

N. Hort Farm I

O. Hort Farm II

Hort Farm II is a living lab for turfgrass research and education. Many turfgrass classes utilize the farm. Research in turfgrass pathology, entomology, management practice, breeding and more occur onsite.

Center for Turfgrass Science

P. Hort Farm III

Hort Farm III is home to the Student Sustainable Farm and additional plant research. Current research includes experiments with corn, hazelnuts, and switchgrass. The Student Sustainable Farm at Rutgers has mostly moved to Rutgers Gardens. More information can be found on their website.

Q. Campus as a Whole

The Cook/Douglass campus as a whole is currently used by a plethora of classes. Several plant classes use the campus for plant identification. Campus is used as a study site for Environmental Design Analysis and Social and Cultural Aspects of Design, as well as for field research by Mary Nucci’s class. Field Ecology uses current campus conditions as clues to unearth the past history of campus. Bioenvironmental Engineering classes use areas on campus in need of green infrastructure interventions to learn about green infrastructure and discuss potential beneficial projects for the area. The campus is also used by Geomatics and GIS classes, including Air Photo Interpretation. One class has even built a campus species list (the Flora of Rutgers Campus). Several classes also take samples throughout campus. Campus as a whole has served as the research location for some Rutgers student theses.

R. Studio Locations

Landscape Architecture studios sometimes use areas on campus as project locations. A few examples include:

  1. Bettenbender Plaza - Fall 2012 Intro to Environmental Design studio
  2. New Gibbons Courtyards - Fall 2012 Intro to Environmental Design studio
  3. Nichol Avenue - Spring 2014 Praxis Studio
  4. Helyar House - Fall 2013 Intro to Environmental Design studio
  5. Rutgers Gardens and Helyar Woods - Fall, yearly (Intro to Environmental Design studio recurring project location)

Our 2018 Living Lab construction projects...

Living Labs 2018 Construction from Will Atwater