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Campus Field Resources

Vassar Ecological Preserve

Vassar's 530-acre Farm and Ecological Preserve is a wonderful outdoor laboratory for learning about Earth Science.  Home to a bedrock hill streamlined by erosion during the last ice age and to lake sediments deposited by the retreating ice sheet, the site includes a variety of rock types, soils, and hydrologic features, such as a meandering stream, oxbow lake, and floodplain wetlands.  Its history as the former college farm also allows for studies of the impact of agricultural practices on soil structure and fertility.

At the center of the preserve lies the Priscilla Bullitt Collins field station, a facility equipped with a laboratory for working with soil, water, and biological samples, two wells used for teaching about groundwater, and a meteorological station capable of measuring air temperature, soil temperature, soil heat flux, precipitation, wind speed, wind direction, atmospheric humidity, soil moisture content, and solar radiation.

Additional Campus Resources

Earth Science and Geography faculty and students also make use of natural resources on the main Vassar campus, which includes two streams and two lakes along with wetlands and a variety of soil types.  Current research on the campus's Fonteynkill stream uses YSI sondes and pressure transducers to study the impact of the construction of new science facilities on water quality in the stream.  Faculty and students partner with the Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County Environment Program and other agencies to maintain a website devoted to data exchange for this and other projects.