About the Field Station
The Field Station is a 50+-acre area east of
the main campus, half a mile from Hoyt Science Center. A foot bridge across the
Little Neshannock Creek leads to the Frey Nature Trail, a half-mile trail which passes through
woods, wetlands, and pastures on its way to the Nature Center. The
acreage for the Field Station was purchased by Westminster in 1964 and
appropriated for use as an environmental laboratory in 1980. Here are
facilities for environmental studies and interactions for the college and
Nature Center: a retrofitted 1877 vintage
Pennsylvania bank barn with two inside laboratories, research and
equipment storage space. Classes in biology, environmental
science, art, literature, meet here throughout the year. Children
and adult groups from the community come for meetings and activities.
- Frey Nature Trail: connects the main
campus with the rest of the Field Station. A boardwalk passes over
a wetland and leads to an observation tower and a recreational area with
a fire pit. Additional side trails pass through shaded woods
and wetlands. All together, the Field Station has more than a mile
of trails for hiking, bird watching, and other nature-related
- Offutt Microforest: a five-acre
reforested woodlot where 1,000 trees have been planted of species
present before the 1795 European settlement took place.
- Yard: includes a small grove of sugar
maple trees (planted by Westminster pre-school children in 2004),
benches and a picnic table open to all. Three flags (United
States, Westminster and Ecology) fly day and night and a memorial stone
with an environmental quote on a plaque set the tone for the Field
- Arboretum: a teaching collection of
trees that are arranged by taxonomic groups.
- Nursery: for starting tree seedlings.
Composting operation: an open air system where over 13 tons of
compostables from the college and community are processed each month
throughout the year (including food waste from dining halls and autumn
leaves from the Borough of New Wilmington);
- Travis Weather Station: weather
records have been maintained since 1983 and are currently transmitted
electronically to the Nature Center.
- Successional plots: every 12 years
(1981, 1993 and 2005), an acre is plowed and then released to natural
processes of change through time; these plots provide sites for studying
the progression from pioneer vegetation to climax community.
- Seasonal wetland: the remains of
a glacial ice-block or kettle where the ecological record of the past
10,000 years is preserved in the pollen deposits.
- Sandy Edmiston Memorial Labyrinth: all
are welcome to come, sit, walk, rest, and meditate.