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Mission & Values

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This language was developed as part of the Forest's 2020-2025 Strategic Plan.

Harvard Pond

The Harvard Forest is Harvard University’s 4,000-acre laboratory and classroom, with year-round staff dedicated to long-term science and experiential learning.  Our mission is to advance understanding of biological, physical, and human systems in the New England landscape.  We share our research to help guide stewardship of the planet.


Harvard Forest practices an open, inclusive, and collaborative approach to addressing local and global environmental challenges through excellence in science, education, and engagement with society.



  • We are committed to excellence in our research, education, outreach, stewardship of our land and physical resources, and our workplace culture.
  • We adapt our thinking and practices to meet new challenges and promote equitable opportunities.
  • We promote and support professional development and advancement of our staff.

Diversity and Inclusion

  • We recognize that our institution is enriched by a wide range of perspectives and experiences and actively seek to create an environment where all feel included and heard.  
  • Our community members support, mentor, and learn from one other, promoting respect and empathy in all activities.
  • The Harvard Forest is an active part of the local community that intersects with a diverse world; we strive to make our work accessible and relevant to our neighbors and broader networks. 

Learning from the past to inform the future

  • We take a long-term perspective by considering the past, present, and future in our research and decision-making.
  • We recognize the importance of research contributions from the past and consider how our actions today will impact the future.


  • Our collaborations cross time and disciplines. We seek and sustain productive collaborative relationships among and across many groups – staff, scientists, educators, funders, decision-makers, and community partners – to bring diverse ideas and solutions to all our work.
  • We embrace open communication within our institution, with the larger Harvard University community, and with our many partners and stakeholders.


  • We champion environmental stewardship by managing our own land and natural resources sustainably.
  • We engage with the public about the role of science and human decision-making in solving environmental challenges.
  • We focus our research in local-to-regional contexts with input from stakeholders.
  • We communicate our discoveries in diverse, accessible ways.