Caring for the land that cares for us

Emory University is a campus with natural beauty, open spaces, trees and plant life. In fact, Emory’s campus includes some of the most biodiverse forest inside Atlanta’s I-285 perimeter and has long been considered “a campus in a forest.” A 2016 study of higher education institutions ranked Emory as number one in the U.S. among 103 research universities for “greenness of campus,” and linked this attribute to student higher student retention rates. Emory’s long history of land stewardship continues with progressive goals and strategies that utilize new and emerging technologies.

So Far

  • In 2014, Emory University was the first campus in the nation to adopt a pollinator protection plan, which bans the use of neonicotinoids – a group of pesticides contributing to declines in pollinator species.
  • Almost half of Emory’s campus is protected land. Stream buffers and forests on campus have unique ecological values and contribute to campus identity and quality of life.
  • Beginning in 2005, a University policy required that campus land suffer “No-Net-Loss-of-Forest-Canopy,” ensuring every time a tree is removed, trees are replanted.


  • Through its Forest Management Plan, Emory is committed to restoring and maintaining the connectivity of its forests within the context of the Georgia Piedmont origins.
  • Emory building design guidelines include strategies for reducing heat island effect, reducing the use of potable water for landscaping irrigation, planting native drought-tolerant plant species, reducing impervious surfaces, increasing on-site infiltration, reducing or eliminating contaminants from runoff, and stormwater harvesting.
  • Emory’s Lullwater Preserve – a public greenspace with trees, lawns and a lake – is home to an English Tudor mansion where the University president lives with at least 175 wildlife species as neighbors.


of Emory’s campus is designated as protected greenspace


acres of campus are nestled in Atlanta's Piedmont forests


of campus grounds are managed organically


Caring for and improving the outdoor spaces that we all need to be happy and healthy is a priority for Emory University. By 2025, Emory will:

  • Eliminate planting of invasive species on campus to foster healthy campus forests and remove invasives in at least 25 percent of campus forests.
  • Enhance pedestrian shade by planting 200 new trees by Emory’s 200th anniversary.
  • Improve water quality, groundwater recharge and greenspace through new or enhanced green infrastructure such as rain gardens, stream buffers and bioswales.
  • Reduce turf grass on Druid Hills and Oxford campuses by 15 percent and replace with biodiverse woodland and shrubbery areas.