Baker University Wetlands Acquires Research Field Station Designation from International Organization

BALDWIN CITY, KS – Baker University biology students will have opportunities to conduct more research and to partner with scientists and graduate and undergraduate students from across the country at the Baker University Wetlands, a 927-acre natural area just south of Lawrence, KS. The Organization of Biological Field Stations recently designated the Baker Wetlands a research field station.

The designation establishes the Baker University Wetlands as a research branch, known as the Wakarusa Field Station, and helps to promote the facility as a site for ecological research and field-based educational experiences where students may hone their skills in research, critical thinking and effective communication.

"Receiving official research field designation is a great opportunity for the Baker Wetlands. This designation literally puts us on the map to attract researchers to conduct their research here while better preparing our students for graduate studies," says Dr. Irene Unger, director of the Baker Wetlands.

Acquired by Baker University in 1968, the Baker Wetlands has a mission is to educate the community and students, restore and manage the habitat, and provide research opportunities to Baker students and staff. The new designation is part of the Wetlands' phased efforts to continue this mission and raise its research capabilities.

The first phase of the plan to improve research opportunities is to upgrade and expand the current laboratory space in the Discovery Center, renovate the weather station, and install a PhenoCam to capture time-lapse video.

"We are thrilled that our students and the community will continue to benefit from the rich educational opportunities the Wakarusa Field Station provides," says Dr. Darcy Russell, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "The station is a vital part of our community."

Additional opportunities made possible by the research field station designation are to create a visiting scientist program and establish exchange programs with other universities. New programming will include a STEM camp for high school students and establishing an outdoor classroom pavilion near the Discovery Center.

About Baker Wetlands Discovery Center
The 927-acre Baker Wetlands is one of the most diverse habitats in Kansas. Students, faculty, and nature lovers have identified 278 species of birds, 98 other vertebrate species, and over 487 plant species at the Wetlands, and these counts grow with each adventure. This exceptional environment gives students the unique opportunity for increased exploration and education about biological and ecological processes.

About Baker University
Founded in 1858 as the first university in Kansas, Baker is a private institution that educates traditional and nontraditional students through small classes, innovative instructors, and rigorous course work. Fortune 500 CEOs, New York Times best-selling authors, and Super Bowl champions all proudly claim Baker as their alma mater. The university is home to four schools: College of Arts and Sciences, School of Nursing, School of Education, and School of Professional and Graduate Studies. Baker offers undergraduate through doctoral programs. Learn more: