The John and Rhea Smith Greenhouse is a 2,500 square-foot addition built on the east end of the second floor of the Ferris State University Science Building. The greenhouse contains in excess of 500 different kinds of plants, representing many families and genera.
What Is the Purpose of the Smith Greenhouse?
The greenhouse supports many classes in the Biology and Biotechnology programs at Ferris State University. The greenhouse serves as a living laboratory where students study plant biology, plant-pest interactions and soil science, plant production and reproduction, and the classification of plants.
What Is in the Greenhouse?
The greenhouse contains a large variety of plants in various collections. There is a display area, hydroponics and composting areas, a propagation area, and the various experiments being conducted by horticulture and biology students. Most of the plants grown in the Smith Greenhouse are tropical and will not survive the outdoor temperatures of a Michigan winter.
Who Are John and Rhea Smith and Why Is the Greenhouse Named for Them?
John and Rhea Smith were two people who loved gardening and were well known in the Big Rapids and Ferris communities. John began working at Ferris in 1953 and retired as interim president in 1971. Rhea was a lifetime member of the Big Rapids Garden Club. Patricia Shaffner, daughter of John and Rhea Smith, was the primary financial contributor to the greenhouse as a tribute to her parents.