Charles Cole | The Penn State Stuckeman School Skip to main content
Charles Andrew Cole Ph.D., Senior Ecologist - Ecological Society of America
Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture & Ecology/Director E+D: Ecology Plus Design
Photo of Charles Cole
Penn State Landscape Architecture
329 Stuckeman

Andy Cole serves as the ecologist within the department, bringing ecological understanding into the curriculum such that students’ thinking and their designs are enhanced. He teaches the basic ecology course, including plant identification, and seminars ranging from restoration ecology to watershed stewardship. Cole tries to be involved within the various studios in order to assist students in applying ecological principles to their designs. He is a wetland ecologist by training, though he also has a wildlife biology background. 

Cole's research interests lie with restoration ecology as it applies to damaged landscapes, usually wetlands. He has a long-standing interest in the creation of wetland ecosystems and their developing characteristics and function. He is also interested in how design decisions impact site and landscape ecology. As such, he is the director of a relatively new landscape architecture initiative - E+D: Ecology Plus Design. 

E+D has three primary foci: research-activated design, graduate education in ecologically-based design, and outreach through a variety of symposia, speakers, workshops, and publications. The need for such an approach is evident in the increasingly complex environmental problems that cannot be solved with simple approaches. the initiative uses design as an organizing principle to bring together ecologists and designers of all sorts into a research and education consortium to address ecological issues across a broad scale, from site to region. 


  • Ph.D. 1988 - Zoology, Southern Illinois University
  • M.S. 1983 - Wildlife Ecology, West Virginia University
  • B.S. 1981 - Wildlife Management, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Courses Taught

  • LARCH 145: Plants & Ecology
  • LARCH 246: Landscape Architecture Field Trip
  • LARCH 424: Restoration Ecology
  • LARCH 497: Ecological Design
  • LARCH 497a: Musser Gap to Valleylands


Cole's interests lie in ecological design and discovering what principles might be learned from natural sites that may be translated into design ideas and approaches. Specifically, he is a wetland ecologist looking at all aspects of created wetlands, from soils and plants to hydrology. He is also interested in all aspects of natural resources assessment especially as they pertain to design and impacts to the land. Cole has a deep interest in restoration ecology and the design priciples needed to bring damaged landscapes back to life.


Cole is active in the Ecology Graduate Degree Program at Penn State. He serves on a variety of committees across Penn State including several within the Graduate School, as well as the Arboretum Advisory Committee.

CV + Files + Links

photo of a dragonfly in a wetland
Out in the field for the Ridge & Valley field trip
photo of a red spotted newt