Grit

New Biological Field Station Opens

Construction of
the research and classroom center at the Wichita State University Biological
Field Station: Ninnescah Reserve near Viola, Kansas, is complete. Wichita State
and the Wichita State University Foundation celebrated with a ribbon cutting
ceremony followed by tours of the facility and prairie, student poster
presentations and ecology slide shows Sept. 24.

The four-prong
mission of the field station – research, teaching, conservation and outreach – provided
the focus for the activities. Its primary function is to conduct original,
environmentally based research in an undisturbed natural setting.

“The field
station will not only promote increased research and types of research,” says
Gary Miller, provost and vice president of academic affairs and research,
“but it will also provide opportunities for collaboration with scientists
at other institutions.”

Funding for the
project included a $240,000 National Science Foundation grant and matching
dollars from generous donors to build a research and classroom center.

The
approximately half-million-dollar center serves as headquarters for three
parcels of land totaling more than 500 acres: the Ninnescah Reserve, the nearby
Sellers Reserve and the recently acquired Gerber Reserve in Kingman County.

“The
generous support of our donors and the interest and participation of our
community affirms our belief and dedication that research, teaching and public
outreach regarding conservation and all aspects of science and nature are
needed to preserve and restore our environment and those around us,” says
Elizabeth King, president and CEO of the WSU Foundation.

Speakers
participating in the grand opening included Don Beggs, WSU president; William
D. Bischoff, dean, Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; William
Hendry, chairperson and professor of biological sciences; Curt Gridley, WSU
alumnus; and Miller.

At each of the
reserves, students and faculty study grassland restoration, river ecology and
general wildlife biology. Each land parcel represents habitats west of the
Flint Hills not found at field stations owned by other public universities in Kansas.

“This
facility will enhance and facilitate our research and teaching efforts,” says
Chris Rogers, associate professor of biological sciences and research director
of the field station. “It will also provide expanded opportunities for
seasonal, scheduled events such as teacher education workshops and Bioblitz, a
research and surveying activity involving local high school students.”

All of these
activities are strongly facilitated by the conservation of natural ecosystems
and their plant and animal communities, Rogers
says.

  • Published on Sep 28, 2010
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