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The Raystown Field Station
The Raystown Field Station is a 365-acre reserve operated as a center for environmental research and education. Located only 20 miles south of campus, the Station provides students with access to 29,000 acres of Army Corps of Engineers property, including the 8,300-acre Raystown Lake, the largest lake in Pennsylvania. The Station has modern facilities and accommodations including Shuster Hall (2003) that features state-of-the-art green architecture. Sustainable design was a central factor in the construction of the lakefront Shuster Hall. Two lakeside lodges (2006) adjacent to Shuster Hall provide modern housing complete with internet access. The Station also provides rustic accommodations at Grove Farm, a remodeled 18th century log farmhouse. Two semester-long immersion programs are currently offered, The Environmental Field Semester in the fall, and Ecology and Organismal Biology in the spring. The Station also offers an abbreviated June semester with courses focused on wildlife biology and conservation.
Students participating in the immersion semesters take all of their courses at the Field Station and live in the lodges on the lakeshore. The Environmental Field semester provides an immersion experience into the Northern Appalachians. Course topics include ecology, geographic information systems (GIS), water resources or forestry (alternating years), field research, and the integrating seminar, A Sense of Place. Field work is integrated with course work and local projects as key educational approaches to this unique experience. Students in environmental science and studies, environmental education, geology and other natural sciences will find this semester to be central to their learning experience. Ecology and Organismal Biology is a joint venture with St Francis University, including courses in zoology, ecology, animal behavior or marine biology (alternating years) and geographic information systems (GIS).
Other features of the Station include full internet connectivity, a series of ground water monitoring wells, a private harbor, a boat dock with a fleet of boats including a Boston Whaler, a 26' pontoon float boat and a 36' houseboat designed for aquatic laboratory work. The station also offers canoes and kayaks for student recreation. Two 4wd vehicles and a variety of field sampling gear, including microscopes, telemetry units, data loggers, laptop computers and portable water analysis labs, equip students and faculty for a wide range of field research activities. The Station hosts course activities for several academic departments, sponsors numerous faculty and student research projects and internships, provides community environmental education opportunities and is the home to the annual Juniata maple syrup program.