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Revitalize Green Oaks Biological Field Station


Beverly Holmes

Vice President for Advancement

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401- 4999


888-566-9265 (Toll Free)

Fax: 309-341-7770


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The windows of Old Main.

Resourceful Thinking

At Green Oaks, Knox students and faculty have a vast, living laboratory in which to explore the environment, science, chemistry, art, and social sciences. They conduct independent research on the rise and decline of individual species and how tree age and species affects the other plants in the ecosystem. They learn how to live, learn, and work together during the 10-week Green Oaks Term, in which a dozen intrepid Knoxies from every discipline take to the woods, like Henry David Thoreau.

The Case For The Revitalization Of Green Oaks

  1. To Make It A Year-Round Center Of Learning. With modernized, weather-proof facilities, students and faculty will be able to work and live at Green Oaks nine months of the year—which also means that more students and faculty will have the opportunity to work there.
  2. To Increase Knox's Commitment To The Field Of Environmental Science. Environmental studies is one of Knox's fastest-growing programs. The new Green Oaks will provide the physical infrastructure necessary for students to gain hands-on experience in the field and in the lab. The uniqueness of the facility—which is intended to become the first Living Building in Illinois—will also help attract future students who want to study in a state-of-the-art environment.
  3. To Offer More Classes At Green Oaks In More Disciplines. With more academic space—and more days each year to use it—Knox will offer expanded educational opportunities at the site, from art to dance to creative writing to athletics.
  4. To Create A New Source Of Revenue For The College. When students and faculty are not in residence at Green Oaks, the facilities will offer amazing learning interactions for secondary education, learning workshops and camps for youth and adults, and meetings and retreats for corporations, associations, and groups looking for a venue to think more broadly.
  5. To Continue Knox's Leadership In The Area Of Sustainability. Knox has been recognized at both the state and national levels for our achievements in promoting sustainable practices on campus. With the new Green Oaks, the College will move beyond merely reducing its carbon that actually improves the environment through its operation.

See how a revitalized Green Oaks will look and work.

What Green Oaks Means To Knox

Currently, there are only eight projects that have achieved Living Building Certification1 anywhere in the world. If Knox succeeds, Green Oaks will become the first complete Living Building in the state of Illinois, and the first anywhere dedicated to both living and learning.

With great ambitions, of course, come great challenges. We must be ready to meet the most rigorous set of sustainable construction and design requirements yet established—significantly more challenging than LEED certification. We must also demonstrate, over the course of 12 months, that the building actually meets the energy and water use targets we've planned. Finally, because of these rigorous standards, we must be prepared to invest about 20 percent more than a conventional facility of similar size would cost to design and build.

It will require a substantial investment, but what it will accomplish is more than worth it.

When Alvah Green bequeathed Green Oaks to Knox, he hoped that, in our hands, it could be returned to the pristine space that existed before the area was mined. Now, we have the opportunity to do something even better, something that only a few others have ever attempted—to create a space where human activity leaves the land better than it was before.

We hope you'll join us.

Aerial View of Green Oaks

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A student on a rope swing in the forest at Green Oaks.
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by living donors (Dick ‘57 and Joan ‘56 Whitcomb) for the creation of a new art building

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Printed on Tuesday, November 21, 2017

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