The Departmental properties that comprise the Station were acquired in past years as donations from private individuals or agencies. They serve as field laboratories for undergraduate and graduate education and research, as well as service.
Natural History Reserve
The oldest area and the "headquarters" of the Station is the 79-acre Natural History Reserve. Mined for coal in the early 1900s, this site was given to the University and maintained as a farm. Later, the Biology Department came to manage the site. Today, the site includes a small caretakers residence, a barn and cages for the Nature Reach raptor rehabilitation program and a research building used for aquatic studies and the raptor program. The research building contains water used for the birds and for four large fish tanks. A large strip pit is adjacent to the building and has a floating dock and several fish aquacultural cages, used for teaching and research. Several boats are also kept at this site for work at the main pit and nearby lakes and pits. [more information about the Reserve]
Monahan Outdoor Education Center
The largest natural area is the Monahan Outdoor Education Center. This 156 acre site is a reclaimed coal tipple area - an area where coal was washed and separated from other material. It includes a prairie restored over abandoned coal waste, a wetland, strip pit, wooded areas, and a small un-reclaimed parcel of land and large strip pit. At the site there is a restricted access road and pavilion. This area is used for undergraduate natural history projects and both undergraduate and graduate research. The Monahan is near the town of Cherokee, a short distance from campus. [more information about the Monahan, Monahan web site]
The Robb Prairie is a small "postage-stamp" prairie within one mile of campus. It is used mostly for educational purposes, a quick field trip from campus. [more information about the Robb]
The Department also manages the O'Malley Prairie, actually two small prairies maintained primarily for their ecological value. [more information about the O'Malley]