Press release from Highlands Botanical Station:
This August the Highlands Biological Station (HBS) welcomed to its campus 12 students – eleven from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) and one student from North Carolina State University –for a semester-in-residence program where students live and learn on the HBS campus. Now in its 12th year, the Highlands Field Site is a program offered by the UNC-CH Institute for the Environment. The coursework includes mountain biodiversity, landscape analysis (GIS), conservation biology, southern Appalachian culture, and research. At the end of the semester, students present the results of their research at a public closing ceremony.
Research is a significant facet of the program. Each student conducts an internship project with mentors from other local conservation organizations who guide them in their research. The projects are diverse – this year students are working with staff from Coweeta Hydrologic Lab, the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust, Highlands Nature Center, the Land Trust for the Little Tennessee, Mississippi State University, United States Forest Service, and The Wilderness Society. As a group, the students also conduct a “Capstone” research project under the guidance of Steve Foster from Watershed Science Inc. in Franklin, North Carolina. This year, the group studied the ecology and health of Caney Fork, a tributary to the Tuckasegee River. Together they assessed the habitat for various reaches of the stream, including canopy cover, substrate, surrounding terrestrial habitat, and stability of the bank from erosional forces. They also sampled fish and benthic macro-invertebrates to assess stream health from a biological viewpoint.
The Highlands Biological Station cordially invites the public to hear the students present their research during their closing ceremony on Tuesday, December 10 from 2:00-5:00pm in the seminar room of the Coker Laboratory, 265 North Sixth Street, Highlands, North Carolina. This will be the students’ last night in Highlands. Refreshments will be provided. If you would like to know more about the program and read the presentation titles, or if you know of a college-level student who would be interested in the program, please visit www.highlandsbiological.org/unc-ie/. The application deadline is in February 2014. The mission of the Highlands Biological Station is to foster research and education focused on the rich natural heritage of the Highlands Plateau. For more information visit www.highlandsbiological.org, call (828) 526-2602 or visit us at 265 North Sixth Street.