(Posted September 12, 2005)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College has received a $200,000 grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations to fund the construction of one modular residential structure at the college's Raystown Lake Field Station complex, which eventually will house students taking part in Juniata's semester-long environmental science academic program.

"There will be two residence structures, one of which will be funded by the Davis grant, that will house students who will live and study at the Raystown Field Station for the entire fall semester, which we hope to start in 2006," says Juniata College President Thomas Kepple. "This live-in educational experience is a truly unique opportunity for undergraduate students to study environmental science."

The grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations will be used to build a modular student residence, featuring room for eight students, as well as bathroom and kitchen facilities. The residences will be built in a rustic style, to complement the design of Shuster Hall, the field station's multipurpose building.

The new structures will house students starting in fall semester 2006. The college will offer a "Semester at the Lake" academic package built around a specially designed academic program that utilizes the college's field station and surrounding natural habitat as a learning tool.

According to Dennis Johnson, associate professor of environmental science and studies, the semester will focus on a 13-credit package that centers around the theme "A Sense of Place." The four courses within the package will address community history, the science of sustainability, GIS and a "Sense of Place" course designed to study how human habitat development has affected the area. Each course will be taught by a variety of Juniata faculty tasked with specific teaching modules within the curriculum. The curriculum is available to all students.

"It will open up a lot more opportunities beyond environmental science courses," says Melissa Wilson '06, an environmental biology student from Mount Joy, Pa. Johnson agrees, although he cautions that it may take a few semesters before students outside of the science orbit sign up for the program. "Right now the program is seen as being part of environmental science," he says. "What we have to shoot for is that all students see this as a crucial part of their education."

The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, based in Jacksonville, Fla., were organized in 1952 and founded by the late Arthur Vining Davis, former president and chairman of the board of the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa). The foundations' aims are to "provide financial assistance within the limits of their budgets and the discretion of their trustees, to certain educational, cultural, scientific and religious institutions."

Davis died in 1962.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.