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Western Kentucky University

WKU Green River Preserve

Green River on a summer dayPipevine swallowtail butterflyTwo students in a canoe at McCoy Blue HoleBarrens restoration - purple coneflowers in bloom

WKU Green River Preserve: Mission

The Green River Preserve (GRP) comprises 1,520 acres of land, and stretches across both banks of the Green River in Hart County, Kentucky. The mission of the WKU Green River Preserve is to foster knowledge and protection of this highly diverse region and our natural heritage through research, education, and conservation.


Habitats and Species: Land and Water

The habitats of the Preserve include bottomlands, uplands, barrens, caves, limestone glades, and of course, the river itself. The Green River and its tributaries are centers of biological diversity for freshwater mussels and fish, hosting over 150 fish species and 71 mussel species. GRP lands surround several mussel beds, including one where nine federally listed endangered mussels have been documented. A large spring known as McCoy Blue Hole is located on the tract north of the river; it empties an underground karst drainage of 34 square miles, and an endangered cave shrimp has been recorded from the  groundwater basin that feeds this spring. Two federally endangered bat species have been recorded from caves on the Preserve property, and the land serves as swarming habitat for bats. The Preserve also provides critical breeding and migratory habitat for neotropical songbirds along the Green River corridor.

 Download this summary and presentation for additional details about the breadth and depth of education, research, and conservation at the GRP, including cultural conservation and restoration of the historic Gardner House. We're excited about the students, researchers, and citizens that have made the Preserve the special place it has come to be. We invite you to become a Friend of the Green River Preserve and grow along with us!


News and Events

It's now a glorious and rainy spring at the Preserve! We're busy with new classes, research, and community events this spring. We're working on several projects to increase our ability to do good work, run more efficiently, share more information, host more students and research work, better conserve biodiversity, and be useful to the community. Thanks for your own part in this effort!

Ongoing work and upcoming plans include a moth survey, research on the parasites of mammals, a salamander genetics study, long-term fire ecology of wildflowers, geophysics work, biology internships, stargazing, class projects, and a retreat of interfaith religion scholars. Summer classes are in the works as well. If you’re interested in becoming a part of one of these opportunities, let us know - we’re planning formal and informal possibilities now.

Check out the new library and calendar links on our website! The new library at the field house is possible thanks to a gift from Erin Daunic. If you see some upcoming event you'd like to participate in or volunteer for, email us!


Dr Ouida W Meier, WKU GRP Director for Management, Education and Outreach


Click here to read some of our past News and Events postings.

Want to receive occasional Green River Preserve news? Email . Thanks for your interest!

Donation buttonYou can support the work of the WKU Green River Preserve!

Logo showing river flowing between landforms shaped like two mussel shells

This symbol of the Preserve uses the shapes of mussel shells as landforms on either side of the Green River. Created by Mina Doerner.

This land was purchased with Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Funds


GRP Field House Library


More calendar dates

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 Last Modified 4/8/15