Outdoors + Wellness

Students on the Pentacrest

Outdoors + Wellness

Between busy class schedules, extracurricular activities and spending time with friends, the college life can be a bit hectic and stressful; this puts a heavy strain on your overall health and well-being. Being outdoors is a great way to reduce the stress of everyday life and maintain mental, emotional and physical wellness. The University of Iowa's campus provides ample space for students to explore and enjoy nature.

University Grounds

A well-maintained and attractive campus is essential for recruitment of students, faculty and staff, and preserving alumni memories.
The University of Iowa campus comprises:

  • over 1,900 acres
  • 160 acres of maintained turf
  • 23 miles of roads and drives
  • 34 miles of sidewalks and bike paths
  • 28,590 trees and shrubs of 548 different varieties.

The UI is committed to a number of sustainable practices and programs in an effort to create and maintain a greener campus. Landscape Services is in the process of developing a Sustainable Landscape Maintenance Master Plan. Learn more...

Conifer gardens introduced into UI Landscape

Several interesting conifer gardens have been created around the UI campus by Facilities Management Building & Landscape Services crew members. This ecological and economical plant group provides habitat for wildlife and are very low maintenance.  Learn more about the conifer gardens and the expert Building & Landscape Service crew responsible for the care of our grounds on the UI Facilities Management website, http://facilities.uiowa.edu/bls/landscape/conifer-gardens.html.

Tree Campus USA

The University of Iowa has once again earned Tree Campus USA recognition from the Arbor Day Foundation. The 2010 designation recognizes the UI's dedication to campus forestry management and environmental stewardship. The UI is Iowa’s first Tree Campus USA institution; this is the second year the UI has earned the designation.

UI Stewardship Days 2011

The award, given by the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota Motor North America Inc., is in recognition for excellence in tree stewardship, as well as student and community involvement in its efforts. UI Facilities Management Landscape Services Team organizes an annual service project with student volunteers to renew this designation, maintain more than 7000 campus trees and plant well over 300 trees each year. For more information, visit http://www.facilities.uiowa.edu/sustainable-initiatives.


Recreational Services

Staying fit is an important part of overall wellness. The University of Iowa Recreational Services provides an array of programs and intramural sports for all fitness levels and interests. Learn more...

Touch the Earth

Studies have shown that five minutes of exercise in a green space can improve mood and reduce stress. The University of Iowa Recreational Services provides various outdoor recreational opportunities through their Touch the Earth program. Learn more...

Getting outside

The Iowa City area is a beautiful place to enjoy the great outdoors. The Iowa City Parks and Recreation Department has compiled a list of parks by location to make it easy to find a green space near you. Learn more...With over 1,900 acres of land, the University of Iowa campus is a perfect place to take a walk. The University offers a variety of walking trails on campus and in the surrounding areas as well. Learn more...Biking is a practical and sustainable way to travel and get exercise. The Johnson County Council of Governments has put together a map of the Iowa City metro area biking trails. Learn more...

Green exercise guide

When exercising outdoors, it is important to keep in mind that your activities may have an impact on the surrounding environment. This green guide serves as a reminder of things to take into consideration when exercising in the great outdoors. Learn more...

Wellness Resources

Wellness is not limited to being physically healthy, mental and emotional health also plays a role. If you’re struggling with any aspect of wellness or would like to get more information, The University of Iowa has multiple resources to assist you. Learn more...

UIEC Student Garden

Formed in the Spring of 2009, the Student Garden has been producing a variety of spring and summer produce that the students provided to the food service for inclusion in meals served to UI students, faculty and staff at the Iowa Memorial Union. 

The UI Environmental Coalition maintain a commercial-size operation on the 1/3rd acre plot on the Hawkeye Campus. The greenhouse was installed in April 2009 and was planted with a variety of tomatoes. Compost from pre-consumer food waste was applied to the garden to prepare and fertilize the soil, creating a full circle of on-campus, locally grown produce using organic methods of gardening. Learn more...

Macbride Nature Recreation Area

Located 15 miles North of Iowa City on Mehaffey Bridge Road, Macbride Nature Recreation Area (MNRA) is one of the largest wooded areas in Johnson County. It is a 485-acre tract of land leased by the University of Iowa from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, under the direction of the Division of Recreational Services. A variety of activities are offered here. Learn more...

Other Resources

Plant Iowa Natives project encourages, educates and creates awareness of native plants. Learn more....