Indiana University
Research and Teaching Preserve

Search RTP:
Continuing the tradition of a green campus

Compared to other major research universities, Indiana University has extensive natural areas on campus and in nearby areas, but they have grown smaller and less numerous as lands are developed for other uses. Former President Herman B Wells was instrumental in expanding the campus land area tenfold during his tenure. He was intent on preserving the woodland character of the campus and was fiercely protective of trees and green space. Wells said: "To cut a tree unnecessarily has long been a act of treason against our heritage and the loyalty, love, and effort of our predecessors who have preserved it for us."
Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge
Paul Weatherwax (an alumnus, faculty member, and eminent botanist) wrote in 1974: Within the memory of alumni and former students, Indiana University has grown to be one of the great educational, cultural, and scientific centers of the world. A unique facet of its many-sided character is its campus with much of its original association of plant and animal life. There are few places in the world where great laboratories, classrooms, libraries, auditoriums, and other such centers of intellectual and artistic creativity are located in an environment which retains its primeval character--few places where one may so quickly and so completely cast off the tensions and anxieties of this complex modern world in quiet meditation. The tradition of a green campus and natural areas continues with the support of the IU Administration. We are fortunate to have easy access to the luxuriant forests of southern Indiana that have been specifically dedicated for teaching and research.

The establishment of the IU Research and Teaching Preserve (RTP) in 2001 is a recent manifestation of the continuing tradition of a green campus embedded within surrounding natural areas. Since it was established, the RTP has more than tripled in size. Our extended green campus is a unique strength of Indiana University.

Following a drought in 1910-1911, Indiana University dammed a stream to create a lake that is located near the present-day IU golf course and known as University Lake. The university, which used 90,000 gallons a day at that time, had been dependent on city water.

The university lake site had not been cleared before damming and cattle and hogs from nearby farms were grazing in the watershed. A report to President Bryan in 1913 recommended purchasing the rest of the watershed and trying to achieve storage capacity of 40 million gallons by extending and raising the dam. Eventually, IU again used city water to supplement its own plant. IU's consumption of city water rose from 48.8 to 170 million gallons per year between 1942 and 1950 as enrollment skyrocketed following World War II.

Revised: August 15, 2012

IU RTP home page:
Indiana University home page Copyright © 2015 The Trustees of Indiana University | Copyright Complaints | Privacy Notice