Chuck Cody in the Ableson greenhouse.Chuck Cody, who has served as the Abelson Hall Greenhouse plant growth facilities manager since the facility opened in 1985, answered questions about the space, the plants, and his career for WSU Pullman’s #FacultyFriday Facebook feature.

High above the southern end of the Library Mall, the rooftop greenhouse houses roughly 500 different species within 4,000 square feet of space. It is divided into nine independently controlled compartments used for instruction and research. A large 2,400 square-foot compartment houses the tropical portion of the instructional plant collection. Eight small rooms (180 sq. ft. each) are used predominantly for research.

Chuck Cody

How has COVID-19 changed how the greenhouse operates?
“Things slowed down considerably. No university classes have used the greenhouse since March 2020. There are roughly 20 different undergraduate classes that use the greenhouse on a regular basis—classes in School of Biological Sciences, Department of Fine Arts, CAHNRS, and College of Education—but that was all stopped in spring 2020. Additionally there are several graduate-level classes that normally use the greenhouse and they were stopped, too.

In 2019, we had 39 different groups—public schools, private schools, home school groups, community groups, senior living centers, daycare centers, etcetera—that visited the greenhouse. In 2020, we had one! While our instructional use of the greenhouse changed considerably, the research use proceeded as normal.”

Cody also revealed he’s retiring soon.

What does the Abelson Greenhouse mean to you?
“The AGH represents both the old and the new in botanical education and research. I have very deep feelings about it since I have been onboard since the design development and have had the good fortune of managing the facility for the entire 35-plus years of its existence.

I have been attached to this place 24/7/365 for so many years. It’s been fun to participate in the changes over time as well as the long-term maintenance of a collection that hopefully will be here for many years to come.”

View a photo gallery of the Abelson plants on Facebook.

Hear from Chuck about the Murrow Greenhouse, too.

Top image: Chuck Cody works in the Ableson greenhouse.

Adapted from WSU Pullman’s FacultyFriday feature on Facebook.