Earth and Environmental Science

Randall Environmental Center

Our award-winning, 22,000 square foot facility is dedicated solely to the Earth and Environmental Sciences Department and serves as a reflection of Taylor’s approach to the “field” of environmental science: humans working in and with nature.

The Randall Center was designed to be a visual and physical gateway to the adjacent 145-acre arboretum. It incorporates state-of-the-art interior environmental design with exterior views of adjacent natural areas. This facility is used for teaching, research and service and houses faculty offices, classrooms, labs, and features for educational outreach.

The facilities include:

  • Greenhouse for course labs, research, and campus horticultural projects
  • Museum housing the Bower Collection of North American and African Savanna Specimens
  • Environmental growth chambers where student researchers can control all environmental aspects for the monitoring of plant growth during experimentation
  • Geographic Information System (GIS) with computer software for geographic database mapping and large format printing
  • Large Rock and Mineral Collection on display and used in coursework, especially for students focusing on Earth Sciences
  • Numerous equipment items for field research in botany, ecology, geology, soils and hydrology 


Just outside the Randall Center, this 145-acre natural area contains a variety of ecosystems used for teaching course material and faculty-student research, including: mature woodlands, meadows, a small pond, a prairie demonstration plot, and a 5-year succession plot. The arboretum has instrumentation for ongoing monitoring of weather conditions within its various ecosystems.

We have 24 shallow ground water monitoring wells in an area proposed for wetland reconstruction. Since 2005, students have been a part of every aspect of this research and proposal including hydrology, soil, and plant inventories. The proposed wetland reconstruction will provide a retention and treatment system for campus storm water management and serve as a significant resource for ecological study.

Nearby Sites

Prairie Restoration Project

Just across from the Taylor University campus is Avis Prairie, a 25-acre ecological restoration. Since its inception, Taylor students have conducted numerous field-based research projects including: prairie succession and soil development, the effects of nutrient enrichment on prairie establishment and structure, strategies for increasing plant diversity, and the effects of flood events.

Taylor “square mile”

The University purchased over 600 additional acres for a variety of uses, including additional environmental science research. A variety of research projects have been developed on this property including current environmental course projects, a reforestation project with periodic plantings and monitoring, and several graduate research projects. New uses and projects on the property are currently being explored and planned with student participation.