Area just outside the SAMC with sitting wall and boulders

In the News: Solar Discusses Buffalo State's Science and Math Complex Outdoor Classroom


Gary Solar, chair and associate professor of earth sciences and science education, recently spoke to Buffalo Business First for a story on how local campuses are reimagining and using their outdoor spaces.

Titled “UB, Buff State and NU Update Outdoor Spaces on Campus,” the story by Lian Bunny includes a look at the nearly 10,000-square-foot outdoor classroom and geological area outside Buffalo State’s Science and Mathematics Complex (SAMC).

Exterior shot of the Science and Math Complex showing landscaping

“The idea came from being able to utilize outdoor space for educational purposes, but at the same time is accessible to anybody at any time in a self-guided way,” Solar said in the piece.

Solar designed the space, which includes a botanical display of indigenous plant species, a rock garden, a sitting wall, natural and constructed materials showing the processes and components of rock cycles, signage, and resources for more information. While the space was designed before the COVID-19 pandemic, it has seen even more use for teaching and socializing because of the pandemic. 

The Business First article also includes a photograph of the space taken by campus photographer Bruce A. Fox

SAMC houses the departments of Biology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences and Science Education, Mathematics, and Physics. The fourth and final phase of construction was completed in January 2021. Boasting a multi-story glass atrium, upgraded research and teaching facilities, an advanced imaging suite, greenhouses, and the new Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium, the complex was officially unveiled to the campus and community during an October 1 ribbon cutting and open house event.

Photos by Bruce Fox, campus photographer.