Our Campus

The Warren Wilson College experience is inextricably linked to it’s 1,100 acre campus located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina.

The natural landscape is often what shapes the visitors’ first impression of the campus; our campus offers a distinct contrast to the typical college campus of vast manicured lawns and regimented planting plans. Emphasis is placed on using suitable native species and materials, drought and pest-resistant plants, along with consideration of form, seasonal, interest, and wise use of the area.

Simply put, it is stunning.

But it is much more than that.

It is your laboratory that allows you to apply what you learn in the classroom. It is your studio, inspiring creative and moving works of art. It is your home, where you will learn the traditions of Appalachia while enjoying the urban experiences of nearby Asheville.

Mist over the Swannanoa Valley
The Warren Wilson College Forest

Our Campus. NC's Research Lab.

The U.S. Forest Service awarded Warren Wilson a $50,000 grant to propagate and harvest ten wildflower and grass species from five different regions in the Southeast. The seeds collected from these local ecotypes will be returned back to the Forest Service to be used for restoration and research for native plant use in commercial settings.

A Native Landscape

Landscaping with native plants has many purposes and benefits:

  • The plants are already adapted to grow and thrive in this area so they need little maintenance once they have been established
  • Native grasses and wildflowers provide forage material for wildlife, like birds, which are dependent upon native plants for their food and for cover
  • Non-native plants can become invasive and out-compete native plants

The Warren Wilson Landscaping crew has incorporated the use of native plants in the campus landscape. Most native grasses that our crew works with are warm season perennial grasses. They are managed through burning and manual weeding in the first stages of establishment.

Farm

Our 110-acre farm doesn’t just supply sustainably-produced meat to campus – it’s also where our pre-vet students learn about animal care, our economics students flex their entrepreneurial muscles, and our agriculture students put book learning into practice. Explore the Farm Crew, and check out the Sustainable Agriculture program.

Forest

Our 600-acre forest supplies our campus sawmill with fresh product, and it’s also where our biology students research non-timber forest products. It’s where our forestry students study mycology at our shiitake mushroom operation, and our art students paint some of the country’s most beautiful natural landscapes. Learn more about how you can work in and how you can study our Forest.

Student on tree crew in tree

The Tree Crew

The Tree Crew is dedicated to caring for the trees of central campus. They strive for tree preservation, with tree removal as only a last resort. The Crew’s work is both challenging and important; trees shape the character of campus and Tree Crew shapes the trees. Each pruning decision determines a tree’s form and growth for decades to come. Tree Crew’s work includes structural pruning, disease control, and removal of dead or damaged limbs and trees. To carry out these responsibilities, the Crew is trained in technical tree climbing and advanced chain sawing.

Garden

Our garden does more than provide produce for our weekly Farmer’s Market or our student-run vegan cafe. Our garden greenhouses are the home of vegetable starts and student research. Our dye garden supplies natural dye to our Fiber Arts Crew, and our honeybees produce honey and serve as pollinators across campus. Learn more about our Garden.

National Recognition

Our campus has been recognized in the following ways:

  • Certified Wildlife Habitat (National Wildlife Foundation)
  • Native Plant Habitat (North Carolina National Parks Service)
  • Certified Monarch Butterfly Waystation (Monarch Watch)
  • Tree Campus USA (Arbor Foundation)
  • Bee Campus USA (Bee City USA)

1,153 Trees

You might notice when you walk across campus that most of our trees are tagged or numbered in some way. In a partnership with the North Carolina Forest Service, we’ve conducted an assessment of the vegetation composition, function, and value of the urban forest on center campus. A complete census of every tree with diameter at breast height (DBH) 2-inches or greater was conducted.

One thousand one hundred fifty-three (1,153) trees were individually measured and cataloged. In total, 135 unique species are present. The total structural replacement value for all center campus trees is $11.04 million. The combined carbon sequestration for the landscape and forest trees is 68 tons per year; the combined carbon storage is 2,419 tons, equivalent to the carbon emissions of Warren Wilson College for 202 days.