Living Lab

The Living Lab (formerly the Ecological Sustainability Landscape) is a beautiful 127-acre tract of land located on Route 68 within the Village of Canton, less than 1 mile away from SLU's main campus; the map in the photo gallery at the right shows how the LL can be accessed via SLU's recreation trails. The site includes fields, forests, wetlands, and streams complete with a three-story house (the Wight House), outbuildings, and a small garden. Several courses that cover topics such as agroecology and renewable energy utilize this living laboratory over the course of the year.

The Wight House is home to a classroom, kitchen space, and offices for emeriti professors, while the barn houses a flock of heritage breed sheep that produce fleece for the department's ecofiber course. The LL's garden features raised beds in order to showcase crop production in a small space. The garden is also planted with a diversity of vegetables and fruiting trees and shrubs that demonstrate permacultural concepts, integrated pest management, mulching, and a closed nutrient cycle. Past student research projects at the Living Lab have led to the installation of a super energy-efficient demonstration window and new energy-conserving lighting. A solar electric system has also been designed and installed by SLU students with planning for a wind system on the drawing board. Other class projects have investigated environmentally friendly paints and products, beekeeping & honey production, and a composting toilet system. See the 'Faculty Collaborators' page for more details.