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Thursday, December 14th, 2023

Greenhouse projects are underway at Gannon University through generous gifts

Through Gannon University’s relationship with the Regional Science Consortium and recent generous donations, site development will soon begin for a native propagation greenhouse located in an undeveloped lot on campus along Myrtle Street between West Third and Fourth streets. 

The greenhouse is anticipated to be completed in spring 2024 and will be a year-round, automated, environmentally controlled 21-foot by 72-foot growing space. It will produce native plants for wetland and dune restoration at Presque Isle State Park, vegetable plants for the Gannon Goodwill Gardens, pollinator plants to support the Regional Science Consortium’s Pollinator Pathway by Go Native Erie! and much more. 

Gannon University has received generous gifts to support the development of the greenhouse.

Villa Maria College alumna Marie Spaeder Haas ’73 and her late husband, Frank Haas ’61, a Gannon alumnus and long-time faculty member, made a notable gift to support Gannon’s greenhouse project. The Haas gift will help to make possible the research, education and outreach programming planned for the facility, with the goal of bringing the community together to learn more about native plants as well as restoring and protecting local wetlands and sensitive ecosystems surrounding Lake Erie. 

Frank and Marie’s mutual goal to walk gently on the earth as well as their mutual passion for the beauty of creation, aligns well with Gannon’s Project NePTWNE and the greenhouse project and is what prompted the gift as a fitting tribute to Frank’s memory. 

It was her husband Frank’s wish to carry on their legacy through gifts to the university with the hope that others would join them in recognizing the potential impact of supporting initiatives that give students cutting-edge opportunities.

“Gannon University is incredibly grateful for this generous gift to support the greenhouse and Project NePTWNE,” said Sarah Ewing, Ph.D., provost and vice president for Student Experience.

“This is assisting with the installation of the first greenhouse on Gannon University’s campus in the heart of downtown Erie in partnership with the Regional Science Consortium. We are looking forward to early next spring when the project is completed and we can begin providing opportunities for students, employees and the community to engage in sustainability efforts for Erie, including research and outreach programming on the use of native plants to restore our wetlands, protect against dune and coastal erosion in Presque Isle State Park, expand the Regional Science Consortium native plant seed bank, and support neighborhood community gardens.”

An additional grant from Erie Insurance as part of Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit program was also received as well as in-kind and direct donations from Building Systems, Inc., a longtime partner of the university that is leading the construction and development of the facility.

Hear more about the Greenhouse at Gannon University.

Gannon University is committed to its long history of aquatic research, education and outreach. This is demonstrated through intentional initiatives regarding lake health through Project NePTWNE. These efforts aim to reconcile the environment with the economy to preserve and steward the natural resources of Lake Erie while simultaneously responding to community needs and growing the economy through job creation.

Greenhouse construction is phase three of six of Gannon’s Project NePTWNE, short for Nano & Polymer Technology for Water and Neural-networks in Erie, a sustainability program that addresses water quality, climate change, economic development and the overall quality of life in Erie.