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Wichita State News

Students get to work at new biological field station building

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Wichita State University Biological Field Station celebrated the grand opening of a new building at its Ninnescah Reserve Friday, Sept. 24. The building provides biology students a place to conduct field research, record results, analyze data and even escape from the nature that surrounds them.

The building is located approximately 35 miles southwest of Wichita State’s main campus, and includes wet and dry labs, classrooms, a library and a seminar room.

Zach Quick
Zach Quick
“It’s just a great place to come out and do some of your own studies,” said Zach Quick, a junior biology major. “I’m out here a lot.”

Quick plans on studying winter survival rates of dark-eyed juncos, a member of the sparrow family, with resources from the new field station.

“It would be hard to work out here,” said Quick. “It’s nice to have a place to come back and take a lunch break, just sit around or keep equipment that you’re not using at the time.”

“It’s really useful,” he said.

Suvidha Samant, a graduate biology student who uses the field station regularly, stressed the convenience of a facility located in the middle of the Kansas prairie.

Suvi Sammant
Suvidha Samant
“If you’re working something in a plot, and you find something interesting and you want to go on the Internet and check it, we have Wi-Fi over here,” said Samant. “We can just come in, turn on our laptop and Google something.”

“You’re not out of touch.”

Samant said she spends a majority of her time at the field station checking traps and plots, and looking at data. Her plots are scattered on both the east and west sides of the field station.

“I work from 6 (a.m.) probably until 5 in the evening, so it’s really helpful,” said Samant.

“This is like a second home, a home away from home,” she said. “Just have to get out a mattress and bed, that’s the only thing that’s missing.”

The advantages of the new building are something both students and faculty will benefit from.

“It substantially increases the research capacity of our department,” said Greg Houseman, assistant professor of biological sciences. “Now we have dedicated phone lines and Internet access.”

Houseman listed the benefits from basic necessities like bathrooms, equipment storage and safety, to increased research capabilities and better communication.

“Instead of showing a slide or a picture we can go out and experience it,” he said. “We can go out there and can actually work.”

Houseman compared the new field station building to a campus laboratory.

“Except on campus you can’t go out and find 50 native plants,” he said. “If you’re going to do real field research, then you have to have this.”

Rain or shine, the new biological field research building will provide students and faculty a place to study and learn, while providing shelter from weather and nature.

For more information on the biological field station, or the classroom and laboratory, call the Department of Biological Sciences at (316) 978-3111.

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Created on Wednesday, October 13, 2010; Last modified on Wednesday, November 10, 2010