This website is dedicated to exploring the natural and man-made green spaces on and around the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. While some of these places – like Bascom Hill and the Memorial Union Terrace – are well-known and iconic, many other smaller and less-central ones are unfamiliar. All play an important role in enhancing the educational experience of UW students, as well as their physical and mental health.

Each page of this site adds a new perspective on the benefits of green spaces and their significance to the UW campus. When navigating these pages, you will learn about the many benefits that Madison’s green spaces can provide their guests, as well as where you can find them and just how prevalent they are across the campus area!

The following video is a preview of my individual project on the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s many green spaces.

Transcript of the slideshow:

VO: All of my life, I have enjoyed the outdoors. From stargazing in Door County to reading a book in my backyard, I have always been the most at peace when I am outside.

My name is Jaya Larsen and I am currently a sophomore studying journalism and mass communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For my individual story project, I chose to examine the spaces on campus where I am the calmest and where they are the greenest.

Like many other students, I was naturally drawn to Madison because of its beautiful, green campus. My freshman year, I lived the Lakeshore dorms. I was very close to the Lakeshore Path which led me to spend a lot of my free time—and occasionally study time—in my hammock along the water’s edge or taking a walk to Picnic Point.

I frequently look for ways to have time to myself, to gather my thoughts and just relax in this hectic college environment. When I began this project, I knew that green spaces made me feel better, but I never realized just how much scientific research had been done, showing both mental and physical benefits of spending time in natural spaces.

I was also surprised at how much green spaces do for campuses and communities from an environmental engineering perspective–helping mitigate heat, improve air quality, prevent flooding and even control noise. Nor did I realize how much planning goes into the development of green spaces on campus and how there is such a long legacy of environmental leadership at the university. I even discovered how frequently these spaces on campus are used for learning as “outdoor laboratories.”

While I didn’t know exactly what I was looking for when I first began, or even what I would find in my countless hours of research, I have come to realize the importance of green spaces on a much broader basis.

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