Research and Field Stations
The Hoffman Institute investigates the interactions between humans and the environment, through research, education, and outreach. It offers multiple regional and international karst field study programs. Its Center for Cave and Karst Studies offers field classes in cooperation with Mammoth Cave International Center for Science and Learning and WKU and the Crawford Hydrology Laboratory, which performs fluorescent dye tracing to determine the direction of water flow. The International Geosciences Program offers global study on karst aquifers and water resources relevant to sustainability.
The Institute for Citizenship and Social Responsibility (ICSR) is an organization of administrators, faculty, students, and staff committed to promoting careful reflection on civic values; engaging in critical analysis of contemporary social, economic, and political problems; and developing the capacities and skills of community organizing, citizenship, and civic engagement as ways of achieving social change and the common good. Co-Directors of the Institute are Dr. Eric Bain-Selbo, Philosophy and Religion Department Head; Dr. Saundra Ardrey, Political Science Department Head; and Dr. Paul Markham, Honors College.
The Institute for Combustion Science and Environmental Technology (ICSET) comprises three prominent laboratories in the Department of Chemistry – the Thermal Analysis Laboratory, Combustion Laboratory, and Emission & Control Laboratory. Students, staff, faculty and visiting scholars from many countries work in the advanced laboratories of the Institute utilizing sophisticated and cutting-edge instrumentation to solve industrial problems and for research that in turn provides the most relevant training experience. The ICSET has two laboratory facilities totaling over 38,000 square feet. It is directed by Dr. Wei-Ping Pan.
The Water Training Institute (WTI) is an industry-demand-driven workforce development initiative developed to bridge the gap into the water/wastewater industry. The program offers a formal education system that produces graduates with knowledge and skills relevant to the water and wastewater industries. UNET (Utility Network) allows enrolled students supervised access to water and wastewater treatment facilities and collection/distribution systems. EYORE (Encouraging Young Operators with Retired Experience) is a volunteer mentoring network that supports students in the formal education system.
The Biotechnology Center facilitates hands-on educational opportunities for Biology students and provides technical and educational services to the State of Kentucky, biotechnology industry, and general public. It is part of WKU's Applied Research and Technology Program. Its primary goals are research, support, service, education, and implementation of new technologies.
The Center for Biodiversity Studies coordinates, promotes, and studies biodiversity issues in the state of Kentucky. Its objective is to serve as a resource for information relating to Kentucky biota, from basic demographic, evolutionary and ecological parameters to the role of biodiversity in the economic development of the Commonwealth. Its four primary missions are information, outreach, research, and stewardship.
WKU's location within the southcentral Kentucky Karst area provides exceptional opportunities for karst studies. The Hoffman Environmental Research Institute and Center for Cave and Studies are the flagship karst research centers at WKU; several other departments and centers also have karst-related projects.
The Center for Environmental Education and Sustainability (CEES) offers education, training, and professional development workshops in the fields of environmental education and sustainability for K-16. Its mission is to work in partnership with WKU and a broad set of stakeholders to provide resources and leadership to advance education for a sustainable future. It has been in existence at WKU for over 25 years and is primarily self-supporting, with much of its funding coming from grants and contracts. The Center also administers the Environmental Education (EE) Endorsement at WKU which provides persons interested in EE with the opportunity to have graduate training that meets national standards developed by the North American Association for Environmental Education and adopted by the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board.
The Kentucky Mesonet is a network of automated weather and climate monitoring stations developed and managed by the Kentucky Climate Center at Western Kentucky University to serve diverse needs in communities across the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Observations of air temperature, precipitation, relative humidity, solar radiation, and wind speed & direction are collected every five minutes.
The Water Quality Center is a place for individuals and organizations to share information on water. The site contains a books list, glossary, bibliography, groups list, and links to the following related Centers:
Research and Field Stations
The Mammoth Cave International Center for Science and Learning (MCICSL) is a cooperative venture of Mammoth Cave National Park and Western Kentucky University. Funding, logistical support, and governance of MCICSL are shared equally by both entities. MCICSL is part of a national network of research learning centers located within the National Park Service. The goals of MCICSL and the other research learning centers are to: facilitate the use of parks for scientific inquiry; support science-informed decision making; communicate the relevance of and provide access to knowledge gained through scientific research; and promote science literacy and resource stewardship.
The McChesney Field campus is a 140-acre site along the Green River in northern Warren County offers a unique experiential outdoor learning environment that is available to be utilized by numerous academic disciplines at WKU. Access to the Green River also provides opportunities for environmental research, outdoor leadership and physical activity classes. In addition to academic uses, the site may be utilized by student organizations or community youth groups for retreats or instructional activities. To see pictures of McChesney Field Campus, and the work accomplished, click here.
For more information about MchChesney Filed Campus, click here.
The Upper Green River Biological Preserve (UGRBP) comprises 800 acres of land located on both banks of the Green River in Hart County, Kentucky, about 2 miles upriver of Mammoth Cave National Park. The mission of the Preserve is to foster knowledge and protection of this diverse region and our natural heritage through research, education, and conservation. In addition to protecting rare species, education and basic and applied research are two other purposes for the Preserve. Located approximately an hour from WKU's campus, the Preserve is used by graduate and undergraduate classes and also as a field trip destination for area elementary, middle, and high school classes, and for teacher training courses. Summer workshops draw university students from across the country. Academic Centers utilizing the Preserve include the Biology Department, Center for Biodiversity Studies, and Center for Water Resource Studies. Co-directors of the Preserve are Dr. Albert Meier, Dr. Ouida Meier, and Dr. Scott Grubbs.
The 780 acre farm is utilized for classes, labs, research and a place to gain experience working in one of the farms many operations. In addition to livestock enterprises, crops production, plant and soil science, horticulture, and turf management, the farm exhibits a number of sustainable energy and agriculture demonstration/teaching projects including a student designed and run biofuel facility, compost heated greenhouse, methane anaerobic digester, city operated composting program and agriculture research and education complex.Go to top