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Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science Research Facilities

Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University

Student with bird specimens at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

Founded in 1812, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is a leading natural history museum dedicated to advancing research, education, and public engagement in biodiversity and environmental science. Research at the Academy is comprised of two active science groups: The Center for Systematic Biology and Evolution cares for and studies over 18 million specimens of plants and animals, and conducts research in systematics, ecology, evolution, and paleontology while the Patrick Center for Environmental Research has been dedicated to understanding, protecting, and restoring the health of watersheds since 1947. Learn more at the Academy of Natural Sciences' website.

Barnegat Bay Coastal Field Station

Barnegat Bay Field Station

The BEES field station on Barnegat Bay in Waretown, NJ, is located on 194 acres of diverse coastal habitat that includes a maritime forest, tidal creek, salt marsh, freshwater pond, brackish impoundment, and bayshore environments. The site offers hands-on research opportunities in coastal geology, barrier island morphology, oceanography and sedimentology. The department’s research vessels provide access to back-bay and near-shore marine environments. The facility includes a lodge, two classrooms/meeting rooms, dining hall, dormitories and rustic cabins.

The Pre-Term Field Experience for incoming BEES freshmen, as well as other department events, is held at the Barnegat field station. The facility may also serve as a base for excursions into the Pine Barrens, a heavily forested area containing a number of interesting deposits related to the last glacial period. Learn more at the Barnegat Bay Field Station website.

Lacawac Sanctuary

Lacawac Sanctuary

Lacawac Sanctuary is a 545-acre nature preserve, ecological field research station and public environmental education facility located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania. Home to the pristine Lake Lacawac—a 52-acre National Natural Landmark and one of the southernmost glacial lakes in the hemisphere—the sanctuary boasts more than 45 years of aquatic research and data compilation since its foundation in 1966. The sanctuary encompasses multiple bodies of water for comparative studies and also features the Wallenpaupack Ledges and Partner Ridge, six public hiking trails, deer enclosure plots, a native plants demonstration garden and natural boreal bog. Learn more at the Lacawac Sanctuary & Field Station website.

Red Hill Fossil Site and other Appalachian locales

Red Hill Fossil Site

The Red Hill fossil site in Tioga County, Pennsylvania, is home to Devonian coastal sedimentary rocks that preserve a rich fossil fauna. Of particular importance is a fossil fish species, studied by Ted Daeschler, PhD, representing a critical transition between fish and tetrapods (land animals). This site offers opportunities for studying vertebrate paleontology, stratigraphy and sedimentology, and provides students with a window into an important moment in the history of life on Earth.
Hundreds of outcrops exist in the Appalachians within a two- to four-hour drive from campus. These rocks represent a range of ages within the Paleozoic Era and preserve depositional environments that include marine, coastal and terrestrial units. Many geoscience courses include trips to Appalachian outcrops, where students can study aspects of paleontology, sedimentology, stratigraphy and structural geology.