Messiah provides acres of naturalized area on campus – including 1.5 acres of a wildflower meadow specifically planted for pollinators; 65 acres of managed grounds (this includes athletic fields and other grass acres).
For more than a decade, the Grantham Community Garden has been a student-inspired, student-led effort to demonstrate and promote real-life concepts of sustainable agriculture. The garden initiative educates students, faculty and the broader community about the environmental, social, nutritional and spiritual benefits of sustainable farming.
In 2016 Messiah University began keeping honey bees on campus as part of the Grantham Community Garden. It has been well publicized that bees, and our pollinators in general, are threatened. The University's response to that threat was to bring bees on campus as an educational tool and a way to think about campus as a place that can provide great habitat. Our newly planted pollinator meadow is just one way to support our bees. Of course, the honey isn't a bad side benefit!
The Yellow Breeches Restoration Project
Messiah University is committed to caring for and protecting the Yellow Breeches Creek, a 68-mile stream that winds through campus and several counties before draining into the Susquehanna River and, eventually, the Chesapeake Bay. In recent years, Messiah has received a number of grants designated for protection of the Yellow Breeches Creek. The University has managed initiatives such as planning for and adding containment structures in key locations, restoring native vegetation and stabilizing stream banks. In addition, the University's grounds crews use phosphorous-free fertilizers in our ongoing care for the creek.
In 2012, the senior class voted to help fund the development of a rain garden next to the new Calvin and Janet High Center for Worship and Performing Arts as their senior gift project. This exciting, project was just the start. As of 2016, there are now four total rain gardens on campus (three surround the Alumni Plaza outside of the main student dining room). While a rain garden looks just like any other flower garden, it actually contains a strategic combination of mostly native plants, trees, and other foliage and is also composed of highly absorbent soil that helps to collect and store rainwater. This allows the rainwater to slowly filter into the ground as well as be pumped into the air by the plants, cleansing it of impurities. By collecting the water, the garden also helps to prevent and minimize flooding.
Messiah University has been a Tree Campus USA since 2011. This is a program of the Arbor Day foundation that helps colleges and universities around the country establish and sustain healthy community forests.