Rewilding Gettysburg College

Class Year


Document Type

Digital Project

Date of Creation

Fall 2021

Department 1

Environmental Studies


Imagine walking to class underneath a canopy of oaks and silky willows. Native flowers and grasses like the early goldenrod and the woodland sunflower line the paths. The hundreds of butterflies and moths that rely on these species flutter around as you make your way through campus, and you can hear dozens of birds chirping in the trees above. The landscape creates an atmosphere of peace and positively impacts your mental health.

However, this is not the experience that we encounter as we make our way through the grounds of Gettysburg College. Much of the land is a carefully curated array of ornamental, non-native plant species and turfgrasses. The plants do not provide the same kind of ecological support for local butterflies and moths, and without the insects, there are very few birds. The spaces that fill up the campus landscape may look green, but they are not teeming with life in the way nature should.

Colleges and Universities across the country are beginning to understand this fundamental difference and are rewilding their campuses by restoring natural habitats on campus green spaces. Gettysburg College needs to join the movement by using native plants to restore natural habitat, not only for the sake of the local ecosystem, but creating more natural spaces may promote a happier and less anxious campus community.


Created for ES 241: Environmental Journalism

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.