Credit: Diane Ginsberg

The Greenhouse has grown significantly over the years from a temporary trailer across the Fairfax campus, to an interim greenhouse facility at the end of President’s Park, and finally to the permanent greenhouse on the 4th floor of the newly-renovated Exploratory Hall.

Previously managed by Monica Marcelli of the Department of Environmental Science and Policy, the Greenhouse has been used for a variety of purposes including course lab support. Beginning January 2017, the Greenhouse will be managed by the Department of Biology.

Different Mason news publications have covered the greenhouse with wonderful stories over the years:

  • Mason Greenhouse Manager Monica Marcelli was featured in a Meet The Mason Nation feature in Mason Spirit magazine on May 5, 2015.
  • The newest and permanent greenhouse facility atop the new Exploratory Hall was featured in Mason News on September 5, 2013.
  • A wonderful article about the role of the greenhouse in coursework and research was featured in About Mason in November 2012. Note: the article link above has been redirected to the print version that appeared in Periodic Elements, a magazine from the College of Science.
  • Office of Sustainability Staff Spotlight: Monica Marcelli, Mason Greenhouse Manager was featured in May 2011.
  • The greenhouse was also featured in the Mason Gazette in October 2010.

Please visit the Shutterfly page for more pictures of the facility.

There are also slideshows of GMU Creative Services photo shoots featuring the greenhouse available for viewing:

Mason Garden Crew visit (46)

Exploratory Hall Rooftop Greenhouse (48)

Students extracting DNA


  • Biodiversity Labs
  • Cell Structure and Function Labs
  • Ecology Labs
  • Microbial Ecology labs

The greenhouse primarily supports labs for courses taught by the Biology and Environmental Science & Policy departments by providing specimens needed for laboratory study.

Tubes with supernatant and debris after DNA extraction - one is a leaf (green) and the other a flower Brassica rapa (yellow)

Tubes with supernatant and debris after DNA extraction – one is a leaf (green) and the other the flower Brassica rapa (yellow)


Mason Garden Crew in the greenhouse

Mason Garden Crew in the greenhouse with Monica Marcelli. Credit: Creative Services

The greenhouse has a close collaboration with the Potomac Heights Vegetable Garden at GMU. The garden is located in the courtyard behind the Potomac Heights residence building. The vegetable garden provides students with a hands-on experience for creating healthy soil and producing healthy plants. The greenhouse provides plants for the garden, and in turn, volunteers from the Potomac Heights Vegetable Garden (Mason Garden Crew) help out at the greenhouse.

This greenhouse is also a symbol of an environmentally friendly facility since we use biological control against plant pests, such as lady beetles to control mealy bugs, nematodes to control fungus and gnats, and parasitic wasps to control whiteflies.

The greenhouse has also provided plants to other institutions. Tobacco plants were given to the greenhouse manager of the George Washington University, and tomato plants were also given to the Insect Zoo at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.