In order to preserve the surrounding fields and meadows, renowned architect Edward Larrabee Barnes designed the Purchase College campus as “A city within the country,” where most building would be clustered together within a great open space.
The campus is situation on 500+ acres of land and 80 acres of wetland. 175+ acres of the property remains undeveloped with about 100 acres committed to be maintained at its natural state, protected under Forever Wild. Within these natural areas of campus, there are running trails for the campus community and for public use. Purchase College has a unique feel as these natural areas are embedded into and surround the main parts of campus. This dedication to maintaining natural land helps to preserve our area’s native species and biodiversity and is also effectively practiced by our Grounds Department that use and follow the NYS DEC Trees and Plants guide.
The campus green spaces provide habitat for many native animals. A surprising diversity of mammal species use our campus, including the Eastern gray squirrel, Eastern chipmunk, white-tailed deer, Eastern cottontail, bobcat, coyote, raccoon, and striped skunk. The green spaces of campus also support a rich diversity of bird species, which is documented and constantly updated on our Purchase College eBird hotspot (https://ebird.org/hotspot/L1507219). The campus has many year-round residents including Northern mockingbird and red-tailed hawk but is also an important migration stopover site for many species of birds that migrate from as far away as South America.
Geologically, the area is one of glacial action, exhibiting features such as drumlins, drumlinoid ridges, till plains, and the like. Soils in the area include Paxton, Ridgebury and Woodbridge loams. These are all glacial-derived soils, most in the B or C hydrologic group indicating fair to poorly draining soils. The average annual rainfall is 44 to 48 inches with prevailing winds from the west-southwest.
Green Land Use Projects:
The Visual Arts building houses a green roof to decrease energy costs by keeping the buildings naturally cool during the warmer months. The green roof is also helpful with handling rain water in the gutter systems.
The Student Garden, located behind the Dance Building, is student owned space maintained by the Green Team.
The college recently obtained a statewide grant to improve its green infrastructure on campus. The project which is in the design phase intends to install porous pavement and bioswales to two major parking lots to lessen the impact of storm water runoff and pollutants entering the Blind Brook waterway and ultimately the Long Island Sound.