Finch Greenhouse Use Policy

The Finch Greenhouse in the Department of Biological Sciences at Western Michigan University rents space to promote plant research.

Greenhouse and environmental space allocation

  • Flowering plants in the Finch GreenhouseComplete a greenhouse request form to rent space in the greenhouse. A copy of the rental information will be laminated and placed on the research room or chamber being used by the researcher.
  • Greenhouse or chamber space will be allocated for the specific time period required by the project. No greenhouse space will be allocated for indefinite periods and will not be extended without manager approval.
  • Priority will be given to the needs of the faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students in the Department of Biological Sciences. Every effort will be made to meet a non-departmental user's needs as the facilities permit. 
  • Greenhouse users conducting grant-supported research will be expected to include voluntary space and supply charges in their grant requests. Reasonable supplies of pots, soils, fertilizers and pesticides are kept on hand for research needs. A requirement for large quantities or specialized containers and equipment will have to be purchased by the researcher.

Use of the plant collections and plants for labs

  • Visitors and tours are welcome in the conservatory. All groups (classes, tours, etc.) should be scheduled at least one week in advance.
  • The use of plant material from the plant collections needs to be approved in advance. Plants used in labs are to be checked out by the teaching assistant. See the greenhouse manager two to three days prior to the lab date.
  • Plant material to be grown for classroom use is to be requested with an adequate lead-in time. Generally six weeks prior to the date the material is needed. The instructor or teaching assistant preparing the materials should meet with greenhouse manager to review the syllabus in order to pin point dates prior to the beginning of the semester. Classes will be charged for supplies and these charges will need to be moved from lab fees into the greenhouse fund prior to the end of the semester.

General sanitation procedures

While working in the greenhouse:

  • Use clean containers and tools. There is a reasonable supply of clean pots in the head-house. There is also soil in the hallway for research use.
  • Put dirty containers and tools next to the sink in the head-house. If time permits please wash them. Do not re-use items until they have been washed.
  • Wash your hands prior to working with research plants.
  • Keep the media in the soil bins filled for the next individual. Do not re-use spilled soil that accumulates on the floor after re-potting.
  • Keep all hose ends, water breakers and mist nozzles hung up and off the floor.
  • All greenhouse benches, floors and bin covers are to be kept clean.
  • All new plant material introduced into the greenhouse needs to be placed in the head-house for a pest and disease inspection. Infected plants will be treated prior to going into the greenhouse.
  • Report all pest and disease problems immediately to the greenhouse manager.
  • Avoid storing these items on or under benches. Greenhouse growing areas are not storage areas for pots, flats or other cultural supplies. Any clutter left will be removed.
  • Dispose plant material in the large plastic containers; we do not compost due to space constraints. Transgenic plants are to be placed in orange biohazard bags available in the head-house and then taken to Vivian Locke to be autoclaved.

Staff supplied services

Staff can provide:

  • Assistance with design, setup and configuration of environmental conditions, planting and transplanting, and maintenance of greenhouse projects until completion.
  • Provision of proper quantities of supplies for greenhouse projects.
  • Watering, including weekends and holidays.
  • Disease and pest control programs developed to meet the specific needs of the experiment.
  • Growing plant material for class and research use.
  • Assistance with the acquisition of seeds and plant material for greenhouse projects.

Responsibilities of greenhouse users

We expect users to:

  • Carry out all experimental treatments and take all experimental measurements.
  • Keep the research zone or chamber clean. This includes but is not limited to sweeping, keeping plants properly pruned, and removal and disposal of dead plant material.
  • Wash all pots, materials, tools and equipment used.
  • Harvest all plant materials in a timely fashion. Plant material should be disposed of immediately following the project. Staff will dispose of any plants left in the greenhouse.