Nestled at the foot of Yale’s Science Hill is one of my favorite spots on campus: Marsh Botanical Gardens. Marsh is used extensively as a teaching lab and for botany research. Its rows of greenhouses contain more plants than I could count. A green oasis, it provides a wondrous escape from the manmade materials that dominate my life (ahem, computers).
Since Marsh contains a plethora of plants that are definitely not native to cold, rainy Connecticut, plants are grouped in different greenhouses that have meticulously-controlled temperature and humidity. Walking through the greenhouses feels like being seamlessly transported from a rainforest to a desert.
I’m still not sure what this plant is called, but it sure is beautiful.
After really enjoying Ecology and Evolutionary Biology - one of Yale’s quintessential introductory biology courses - I decided to take the accompanying lab course this spring. I was so excited when we got to perform a series of labs focusing on plant evolution in Marsh. My professor and the Marsh staff encouraged us to take samples from the plants around us and analyze them. Being in the greenhouse for class felt like more than just hands-on experience; it was truly immersive. And that experience is not atypical here.
I loved doing our lab on angiosperms amongst hundreds of beautiful plants.
Have your lab and eat it too! I took home a pineapple after our angiosperm lab.
Yale has resource-rich collections in areas ranging from plants to rare books to Greek and Roman Art. And these resources are not blocked off for undergrads–quite the opposite. We are highly encouraged to take advantage of them in classes from all subjects. The accessibility to world-class collections is one of the coolest things about being a student at Yale.
And even if I don’t have an academic reason to be there, Yale’s collections–whether it’s Marsh, the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, or the British Art Center–will welcome me with open arms, and remind me of why this place is so special.
A perfect spot to curl up with a book :)