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Sustainability Learning Lab at Bellevue University

Welcome to the Bellevue University Sustainability Lab

In 2019, the The Nebraska Environmental Trust awarded BU a $200,000 grant to build a sustainability learning lab. Located behind the R. Joe Dennis Learning Center, the 7000 square foot lab will include a greenhouse, an algae pond, a native Nebraska plants garden, and solar generation stations. It will provide students with the opportunity to do hands on research and the community a space to enjoy.  The university will also work with with the Boy Scouts and Green Bellevue as the lab develops.

This LibGuide is a work in progress, as is the Sustainability Lab. Check back often.

Development of the Bellevue University Sustainability Lab Overview

October 4, 2019

”Today we break ground on what we hope will be a truly groundbreaking project, This facility will complement indoor labs at the R. Joe Dennis Learning Center next door.” (Remarks of Dean Mary Dobransky)


Proposed Layout of Sustainability Learning Lab - Design by HDR



7000 plants native to the region, ready to be planted.

Source: Bellevue Leader, Oct. 9, ,2019.

Partially Planted Garden - October 2019


Hillside bursting with Flowers - July 2020

Construction begins third week of May 2020



Science on Display at the Bellevue University Sustainability Learning Lab


Margie McCandless, originally published in 
Bellevue University Library Facts from the Stacks Blog

BU receives NET grant for sustainability lab

Bellevue Leader, July 15, 2019, Cheyenne Alexis (Staff Writer)


      The outside of the R. Joe Dennis Learning Center will house the new sustainability lab coming to Bellevue University in the next two years.

Bellevue University is constructing a lab that will assist in sustainability learning, while also involving the community.

The Nebraska Environmental Trust awarded BU a $200,000 grant to increase sustainability learning with a lab at the university. The grant will be available to BU over the next three years.

Located behind the R. Joe Dennis Learning Labs on Bruin Boulevard, the 7,000-square foot lab will have many ways for students to research and study.

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Nebraska Environmental Trust Awards $200,000 Grant to Independent Colleges Foundation to Support Development of Sustainability Learning Lab at Bellevue University

Omaha, Nebraska – The Council of Independent Nebraska Colleges Foundation (CINCF) announced today that it has received a $200,000 grant from The Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) to help establish a sustainability learning lab at Bellevue University. The grant funding from NET will be matched by Bellevue University and its partners and donors over the next three years.

According to Dr. Dennis Joslin, Executive Director of CINCF, “The Sustainability Learning Lab has tremendous potential to benefit the State of Nebraska by raising awareness and educating future generations of students and citizens about how to conserve, enhance and restore natural environments.” Dr. Joslin added that the grant and lab project aligns well with CINCF’s mission to provide support for students attending Nebraska’s private colleges and universities.

Bellevue University President Dr. Mary Hawkins said the grant serves as a prime example of a partnership resulting in a unique educational resource. “We are grateful for The Nebraska Environmental Trust’s support of this project and for the CINC Foundation’s advocacy on behalf of the state’s independent higher educational institutions,” she said. “We are confident that real world, applied learning that will take place in the lab will help preserve Nebraska’s valuable natural resources and strengthen the state’s workforce.”

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.Bellevue University to Create Outdoor Sustainability Lab

Fox 42 News, by Sydnie Holzfaster, Sunday, August 11,  2019

 Students at Bellevue University will soon be researching a new way to expand renewable resources. The Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) has awarded the university a $300,000 grant to create a sustainability outdoor learning lab.

Sunday Dr. John Kyndt, Associate Professor of Microbiology and Director of Sustainability at Bellevue University, broke down the plan for the construction of the new lab at the monthly Green Bellevue meeting.

Kyndt said the lab allow students to take their experiments out of the classroom and integrate different types of renewable energy.

“Fossil fuels are a finite resource, so we are going to run out of fossil fuels at some point. We’ve got to start building more renewable resources,” Kyndt said. “It’s not going to be one resource that comes out. It’s not going to be algae biofuels that takes over everything, it’s going to be a combination of things.”

The sustainable lab will be constructed in three phases, with each phase taking approximately 12 months to complete. Phase 1 will include the construction of a 1,600 square foot greenhouse with hydroponics and the creation of a native plant garden. Phase 2 includes the installation of solar and wind generation stations, a 1,200 square foot algae pond and web linked weather monitoring system. Phase 3 will include the construction of a 25-seat outdoor amphitheater classroom.

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Bellevue University Science Department Readies for Greenhouse Construction  

Bellevue Leader, June 26, 2020, Cheyenne Alexis (Staff Writer)

Bellevue University is showing off its new greenhouse construction in a unique way.
The university was awarded a $200,000, three-year grant by the Nebraska Environmental Trust last summer to expand its sustainability program.

The new outdoor lab is located behind the R. Joe Dennis Learning Labs on Bruin Boulevard.

Though the construction for the greenhouse won’t be completed until November, Tyler Moore, assistant professor of biology at BU, said the science labs created a time-lapse to show how the construction has been going.

“We have a time-lapse camera set on top of the hill watching it,” Moore said. “We take about one photo every 30 minutes, so we’re compressing them down in a course of several months.”

The greenhouse will house different plants from different climate areas, ranging from temperate to tropical.

“It’s going to be our system for supplying specimens for research,” Moore said.

The sustainability lab was made with student research in mind; however, Moore said he hopes it allows for some community outreach as well.

With the greenhouse, Moore hopes to have plant giveaways and allow community members to garden and grow their own plants as well.

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