Ecological Frontiers Require a Permanent Sense of Place: Using and Preserving Campus Natural Areas
Thursday, August 13, 2015: 10:00 AM-11:30 AM
345, Baltimore Convention Center
Carola A. Haas, Virginia Tech
Kevina Vulinec, Delaware State University; and
Marla McIntosh, University of Maryland
Susan D. Day, Virginia Tech
The founding members of the Ecological Society of America were strong proponents of field-based teaching and research, and successfully lobbied to protect natural areas as part of, or near to, their university campuses to advance these goals. Campus natural areas continue to provide locations for long-term research and monitoring projects, living ecology laboratories, and a sense of place for students, faculty, and community members. Some of these natural areas are well integrated into campus plans, and some may even create their own funding streams to support management, research, and teaching. Others, however, are thought of as neglected spots on campus that represent land on reserve for future university development. Campus natural areas may be heavily used for research, teaching, or outreach purposes, but knowledge of those functions may be overlooked or unappreciated by university administrators and planners. The true value and the potential contributions of natural areas to a university’s mission and strategic goals are often neglected despite opportunities to involve students with local natural habitats that would contribute greatly to teaching and research in ecology. The purpose of this session is to present examples of campus natural areas and how they are used, administered, and managed for future use. We will present case studies of natural areas on campuses that have been or are threatened by campus development and present a diversity of approaches for better utilizing these sites for long-term research and educational projects that include protecting these natural areas from development.