Lycoming establishes biology field station for experiential learning and research

Lycoming establishes biology field station for experiential learning and research

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Lycoming College recently established the Lycoming Biology Field Station* on 116 acres of land near the campus. The College’s biology department intends to use the field station for courses in aquatic biology, ecology, plant science, vertebrate and invertebrate zoology, and environmental biology as well as student research and practica projects.

The property runs along the Loyalsock Creek by Pa. Route 87, and consists of two houses, a barn, several outbuildings, agricultural fields and riparian/upland forests. Student interns began their work at the field station this summer with the Clean Water Institute (CWI) by conducting water quality testing, identifying and evaluating tree diversity, assessing wetlands, and starting to compile a complete plant and mammal inventory.

“I see the field station as a living laboratory for the advancement of knowledge through ecological research, education and stewardship of the natural world,” explained Mel Zimmerman, Ph.D., professor emeritus of biology and director of the CWI. “The station will provide an opportunity for faculty and students to set up long-term field projects related to their independent research or practica projects. This kind of experiential learning is a top priority of biology, the CWI, and the Center for Enhanced Academic Experiences.”

Zimmerman is already looking ahead to future possibilities for the property that he hopes will extend beyond the College community. “A long range goal for the field station is to establish a location for interdisciplinary engagement and community outreach.”

Additional use of the facility will extend to projects associated with the College’s Sustainability Committee, Outdoor Leadership and Education (OLE), the Center for Enhanced Energy and the Future (CEF), the CWI and the Lycoming Environmental Awareness Foundation (LEAF). Partnerships with Inflection Energy, the PA Game Commission, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), the Loyalsock Creek Watershed Association and other environmental groups are still being explored.

*The Lycoming Biology Field Station Inc. is a nonprofit corporation and wholly-owned subsidiary of Lycoming College.