About the Finch Greenhouse

Plants that will be sold at the annual plant sale.

Plants that will be sold at the annual plant sale.

The Finch Greenhouse in the Department of Biological Sciences at Western Michigan University is comprised of four gutter connected glass houses that amount to approximately 5,000 square feet. Twelve separate environmental zones are controlled by three Wadsworth Micro-Step computer boards located in the greenhouse. These boards are linked to a Tenex 486 p.c. located in the supporting head-house and storage area which allows for better data collection and handling. A weather station is also linked to the boards and p.c., which feeds current weather conditions into the computers.

Features of each zone include: ro-flo rolling benches constructed from heavy gauge galvanized steal supports and steel-aluminum corrosion resistant trays, screened side and ridge vents, exhaust fans, P and L high-pressure 430-watt sodium lamps and push-pull aluminum shade curtains.

Each zone has a sampling aspirator which sends zone conditions to the computer every 15 seconds. Three portable water cooled air conditioning units are used in the summer months for research projects that require more critical temperature control.

Greenhouse floor plan

The greenhouse is divided into two sections.


The research section is made up of six zones (2,500 square feet) devoted to research conducted by the faculty, adjunct faculty and students in the Department of Biological Sciences. A storage and support hallway divides the research section into two halves with three zones on each side. The zones vary in size from 96 to 375 square feet.

Conservatory and propigation

The conservatory and propigation section has two zones used for plant propigation, class support and class projects. An additional four zones (1,700 square feet) are devoted to the department's conservatory collection containing approximately 350 species representing 50 plant families. This collection is used by students enrolled in:

  • BIOS 1100: Biological Sciences Lab
  • BIOS 1510: Organismal Biology
  • BIOS 2020: General Botany
  • BIOS 3190: Plant Physiology
  • BIOS 4270: Systematic Botany

The environmental chamber and plant prep room is located next to the greenhouse in Wood Hall. Four walk-in percival chambers provide additional research space for experiments that require more precise environmental control. An elevated carbon dioxide and elevated ozone chamber will be added to to this facility in the future.


Faculty and students who have conducted research in the Finch Greenhouse: