Parents Council Raystown Field Station Tour
Nestled on 365 acres along the shores of Lake Raystown, the Juniata College Environmental Field Studies Station is an educational jewel. Known officially as the Raystown Field Station, the Leeds Certified facility was established in 1974 by Juniata College in partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers. The field station occupies a unique niche for students seeking educational opportunities in environmental science.
The Raystown Field Station (RFS) consists of Shuster Hall (where most academic activities occur) along with two adjacent lodging facilities and Grove Farm. Each semester, 14 students from Juniata (as well as a small number of students from Saint Francis College) hunker down for an ‘education-in-residence’ opportunity. Taking an average load of 15-17 credits, students are able to participate in classroom activities that are immediately applicable in the field environment. At the conclusion of each semester, students are expected to complete a capstone project on an aquatic or terrestrial theme to integrate their accumulated knowledge. Students live on-site at the field station. Wi-Fi is available as are meals and limitless opportunities for outdoor recreation.
Shuster Hall is the academic centerpiece of the RFS. Built in 2003, Shuster Hall’s airy and expansive top floor creates an environment of scholarly inquiry. The building met required standards for planning, building, water efficiency, energy efficiency and indoor air quality to achieve Leeds certification status. Within this cutting-edge academic facility (and its’ gorgeous lakefront setting), students are able to pursue coursework and research in a number of areas of environmental science. Juniata faculty mentor students in topical areas such as ornithology, mammalogy, and herpetology. Students are currently engaged in projects ranging from watershed regeneration to migration patterns of local box turtles. Andrew McDevitt, the RFS resident director, keeps a close eye on students and facilities to make sure all is in proper working order.
A particularly unique opportunity is for students to obtain the Associate Wildlife Biologist Certificate from the National Wildlife Society (NWS). This certification provides an opportunity for students “who have limited experience but who have completed the rigorous academic standards and are judged to be able to represent the profession as an ethical practitioner.” With sufficient professional experience, individuals holding the title of Associate Wildlife Biologist may apply for more advanced levels of certification. This certification process gives Juniata students a leg up in the process of wildlife management certification.
Lest you think that the RFS is for environmental science students only, the facilities are available for use when academic activities are not in progress. To schedule your weekend at RFS or to learn more about the facility and its programs, visit http://services.juniata.edu/station/index.html.