Frequently Asked Questions

Who can visit the Center's preserves?

The preserves are open to anyone engaged in educational and research activities regardless of age, affiliation, or background. Reservations are required (see Visit a Preserve page). Recreational visits are not compatible with preserve activities and the Center's mission.

How can I visit a Preserve?

  • Tours – Join us for a public tour or work party
  • Programs – We provide trainings in environmental education or grassland management (includes internship units for students).
  • Field Trips – Classes or groups on educational outings are welcome
  • Projects - Independent research projects are encouraged. We also work with a diversity of faculty, students and community partners to create projects.
  • Volunteering – We welcome you. There are always projects that need doing at our preserves. Contact Us.
  • Retreats - See Visit a Preserve page to reserve facilities for a retreat (day use only)

Why can’t I go to the preserves to hike? 

High levels of use can disrupt research. The Center's preserves are outdoor laboratories for experimentation and measurement. Just as with a research laboratory on campus, unsupervised activity can unintentionally disrupt experiments and result in significant loss of time and money. Preserve access procedures allow us to coordinate use and avoid conflict among education, management and research activities.

Can I visit a Preserve on my own?

Yes, as long as you have an approved reservation and follow procedures for access. In some cases for safety reasons, we may require that you bring someone with you.

Can I lead a class or take a group to a Preserve?

Yes. If you have your own curriculum or education goal for the trip, all you need is a reservation. The reservation application includes information that allows us to coordinate with other users. Contact us for a site visit or we can meet when you arrive with your group.

What kinds of activities are compatible with Preserve use?

Any educational or research activity in the liberal arts and sciences. Recreational visits are not compatible with the activities at the preserves or the Center's mission. Preserve facilities, such as the Marjory Osborn Center, are also available for meetings and retreats.

How can I learn more about what’s going on at the Center's preserves?

Sign up for our e-newsletter, join us on Facebook and check the News & Events. Also, explore the website, such as Publications, Programs, Gallery, and Virtual Tours. Projects are updated each semester as we engage students and faculty.

What kinds of educational programs are available and who can participate?

Our programs cover environmental education, grassland management, entomology and watersheds and engage university students and faculty, K-12 students and teachers, and community members.

How do I make the Center's preserves part of my education at SSU?

If you want to earn academic credit as part of Center programs at the preserves, you can get involved in preserve internships (environmental education, grassland management, entomology) or we can help you design a project for a class, capstone, senior thesis, Master’s Theses or special studies at the preserves. Center staff can also work with your course instructor to engage your whole class in a Preserve project.

Can you come teach students in my K-12 classroom or do I need to bring them to a Preserve?

The Osborn Environmental Education Program (3-5 grade) includes a pre-field trip class visit and focuses on environmental education experience at the Osborn Preserve.

How do I start a research or art project at a Preserve?

Contact us for a site visit. Or, if you know what you want to do, just make a reservation on the Visit a Preserve page.  

What kinds of information and background data are available?

We encourage data sharing among all Preserve users and post available data to the web.  Also check each Preserve’s “About” tab for information about weather, lands, culture, research, and management.

What are different ways that the Center can collaborate?

  • We engage faculty and students in finding solutions for land management, education and research challenges at our preserves. This both the challenges that emerge from our lands and facilities, and those of running an environmental non-profit organization. Many of these projects are developed as service-learning projects and fulfill community engagement requirements for faculty advancement.
  • The Center's preserves also serve as a portal for engaging faculty and students in environmental issues of regional importance. We work with community partners on regional initiatives and search for ways to bring academic strengths of SSU faculty and students to address regional management needs.

Who does the Center work with to develop projects?

We work with students, faculty and community members, individually or in collaboratives. See the WATER Collaborative.

How can I get involved with environmental issues and Preserve management?

Please contact us. Just let us know you’re interested.

How can I support on-going efforts at the Center?

Please consider a donation or volunteering with the Center. Over 50% of the Center's budget is from donations and contracts. Please contact the Center's Director.