A grant has been awarded to Drs. David L. Bechler and John B. Pascarella at Valdosta State University, Valdosta, Georgia, to bring in consultants for the purpose of assessment and improvement of the Lake Louis Field Station. In December 1995, the field station was acquired from Mars Hill College. The station, which is relatively undeveloped, is unique in that within its 173.1 acres there exists a 14-acre sinkhole lake feeding the Floridian Aquifer, extensive wetlands, a mixed deciduous forest, and remnants of an upland pine forest. The station lies 8 km south of the City of Valdosta, and 20 km north of the Florida State line. Residential movement out of Valdosta has resulted in some housing development around the property. Currently, the station is being used as a natural laboratory for field based science classes and research. VSU wishes to develop a comprehensive five-year plan and mission statement that will allow the university to gain maximum benefit from the station while preserving as much of its original natural environment as possible. In order to best utilize the Lake Louise Field Station, VSU proposes to bring in independent consultants to examine the station and produce a report advising the university on the best way to utilize the station for teaching, research, and public outreach. Specifically, they wish to have the consultants examine and advise them on the following key points: (1) How to best utilize existing natural habitats without damaging them. (2) The applicability of converting the upland pinelands from slash pines to its original longleaf pines. (3) The advisability of purchasing additional land to expand specific habitat types and serve as a buffer around the station. (4) Applicability, structural layout, and best location of a proposed classroom/laboratory complex for teaching and research. (5) The practicality and feasibility of the current five-year mission statement for the field stations use and development. Development of the station is important for several reasons. The station is the only field station in the southern half of the state owned by a state educational institution that is available for teaching, research and public outreach. Its location close to the City of Valdosta and major roads in the southern portion of the state make it easily accessable for VSU as well as local school districts and community organizations. Most importantly is its value as an educational center for the citizens of South Georgia. Many of VSU's 8,820 students are first generation college students. The citizenry of South Georgia has for generations viewed the environment as something to exploit, but not necessarily preserve and renew. By expanding the facilities at the station so that it can be more readily used for teaching, research and public outreach, VSU will be better able to fulfill its mission of public education and service to the South Georgia community

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Biological Infrastructure (DBI)
Standard Grant (Standard)
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Program Officer
Gerald Selzer
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Valdosta State University
United States
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