View of V1 Green


We're committed to protecting and expanding green spaces on campus.

A vibrant and healthy ecosystem is a key part of a sustainable campus. With over 1,200 acres of property, the way we manage our campus grounds has a significant impact on the local community and the many species that call it home. Learn more about Waterloo's approach to sustainable land management, as well as green features to explore on campus:

Aerial view of main campus

Sustainable Land Care Standard 

In 2021 and 2022, the Sustainability Office and Grounds led the development of a Sustainable Land Care Standard to guide how Waterloo will manage its grounds and natural spaces over time. In 2023, the standard was approved and includes actions and recommendations in seven focus areas.

Employees planting trees by Health Services


The Sustainability Office and Grounds have led a variety of campus naturalization projects over the last several years, including community tree plantings, pollinator gardens, and the removal of invasive European buckthorn and garlic mustard along the Laurel Creek corridor and other parts of campus. More projects are planned for fall 2023 and beyond!

A bee on a flower


Join the University of Waterloo's iNaturalist project today! Help us understand diversity by observing and identifying the species on campus grounds. 

Bird looking at camera

Bird glass collision monitoring

In Canada, bird window collisions result in 16 to 42 million bird deaths per year and is a leading cause of human impacts on bird mortality (Government of Canada). The UW Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) has been working towards a safer campus for our feathered friends. If you find a bird mortality or see a bird collision, please feel free to report it using the UW SER Bird-Glass Collision Monitoring form. This program is helping to gain a better understanding of collision hotspots on campus.

Laurel Creek with DP in background in winter

Salt management

Ice and snow management is a critical safety measure during Waterloo winters. Plant Operations is committed to reducing the amount of salt used in the winter, and has been piloting a new brine system in the place of traditional blanket salt applications. 


Pesticide use 

Plant Operations phased out all pesticide use across campus by 1998. With the exception of sports fields, which need to be treated for safety purposes, the grounds team manages weeds through natural methods such as hand-weeding, using hot water to kill off weeds, and planting native species. Plant Operations will also be piloting a steam system as a sustainable alternative in the coming months.

Green spaces 

Path through Peter Russell Rock Garden

Peter Russell Rock Garden 

Located between MC, QNC, and ESC, the Peter Russell Rock Garden is an interior oasis with over 70 types of rocks and minerals. With benches and other seating, it's the perfect spot for an outdoor lunch, meeting, or moment of solitude.

ArtsEnv Gardens

Arts/Environment Garden

Located between HH, PAS, and EV1 lies a little-known paradise. The Arts/Environment Garden contains seven themed 'mini-gardens' with a variety of plants to encourage local pollinators to visit. With many benches and seating areas, it's a great place to study, eat lunch, or relax on a sunny afternoon. 

Bridge over Laurel Creek

Laurel Creek 

On the west side of South Campus, Laurel Creek meanders down from the Village 1 green and passes under three bridges between campus and the affiliated colleges. It’s home to herons, geese, ducks, and more, and offers a relaxing space for contemplation.

Students on north campus looking for butterflies

Environmental Reserve 

The Environmental Reserve lies just across the road on Columbia Street. This 109-acre space has sports fields, forests, meadows, and Columbia Lake. The reserve provides teaching, research, public education opportunities, protected habitat for wildlife, and a legacy for future generations.