Michael Benedict, (2006) Associate Professor of Environmental Studies; Conservation Director & Interim Director of the James H. Barrow Biological Field Station and Northwoods Field Station
B.S., Universidade Santa Ursula, Brazil;
M.S., Ph.D., University of Toledo
The James H. Barrow Biological Field Station was established in 1967 to provide Hiram College students and visitors the opportunity to fully engage with the natural world through hands-on learning experiences that illuminate how life works and to promote the conservation of all life. For over 50 years, the Station has grown and developed from its initial 75 acres into an active research and educational facility of over 550 acres that not only enhances the College’s science and environmental studies programs, but also provides a means for both students and the general public to increase their understanding and appreciation of natural history and their role in our environment. Experiences gained at the Field Station allow students to develop essential skills in research, teaching, and leadership that are carried forward into their professional lives.
The Station comprises 553 acres, including about 150 acres of mature beech-maple forest; a large stretch of Silver Creek (a cold-water stream); two built ponds; old fields of varying ages; young and intermediate aged forests; and a five-mile interpretive nature trail. The Station also benefits from the Kennedy Observation Building for classes, meetings and viewing wildlife and the Frohring Laboratory building, which was renovated and expanded in 2007, with a modern and spacious teaching lab and several smaller spaces for student/faculty research, and for animal conservation and wildlife rehabilitation. The Station also has natural history displays, including live animal exhibits, and an endangered waterfowl conservation center for the care, research, and conservation of internationally and regionally endangered birds such as the Madagascar teal, the white-winged wood duck, and the trumpeter swan. Student involvement in all aspects of the Station makes such research possible and guides its direction by collaboration among students, faculty, and staff. Students who are involved in the projects often gain valuable experiences and make contacts with other students and faculty through presentation of their work at professional meetings.
The Field Station’s buildings, experimental fields, and natural and semi-natural areas are maintained entirely by college students under the supervision of an excellent staff. Student workers also gain experience in the practical aspects of operating an educational facility. Teaching experience is gained through the nature education outreach programs, which are developed and executed by Hiram faculty and staff, with full collaboration of the students. These programs are designed to educate pre-college students about the natural history of northeastern Ohio and about such critical issues as habitat preservation and conservation of natural resources. Alumni often credit their experiences at the Station as inspiration for further study in science, education, and environmental studies. In all activities, direct involvement of students in the learning process is the key to success.
Field Station Staff
Zachary Fox, Coordinator of Sustainability
Rebecca Moore, Curator of Animal Programs
Jane O'Brien, Education and Community Outreach Coordinator
Emliss Ricks, Land Stewardship Manager
Henry Schwendler, Research Technician
James Tolan, Manager of Operations, James H. Barrow Biological Field Station and Northwoods Field Station
Field Station Contributing Faculty
Sarah Mabey, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies; Natural History Program Coordinator
James Kercher, Associate Professor of Chemistry
Ruth McDowell, Assistant Professor of Biology
Louis Oliphant, Associate Professor of Computer Science
Mary Quade, Associate Professor of English