Take your students exploring on a BFS Field Trip!
Our field station’s most valuable resource may well be its location. Not only do we have Otsego Lake at our fingertips, but also several other unique sites for study. Our learning adventures in environmental education and agricultural environmental quality for K-12, college, and older students may involve one or more of the following sites:
Otsego Lake is geologically a finger lake created by the over-deepening of the Susquehanna River Valley during the last period of glaciation. It is a cold water lake with approximately seven square miles of surface area and 168 feet at its greatest depth. Its cold water fishery is predominantly Lake Trout.
Students explore the Lake's flora, fauna; physical and chemical character.
Comprising the 360-acre watershed of Moe Pond are Northern hardwoods on mesic sites, old fields and conifer plantations, and several beaver impoundments, one containing an extensive floating sphagnum mat.
Students collect aquatic invertebrates from Moe Pond and other smaller ponds and streams as well as terrestrial organisms from old fields, plantations and mature forests. Student learn about the biota and their adaptations for existence.
Developed trails and boardwalks throughout the five-acre Goodyear Swamp Sanctuary provide an opportunity for self-guided or interpreted field trips. This site, on wetlands adjacent to Otsego Lake, is always available for public use. Self-Guided field books, which identify flora and fauna, are available in trailhead shelters. Lake access is provided via a forty foot dock on Otsego Lake.
The Thayer Farm is a 256 acre farm established by William Thayer (1775-1861). It was recently donated to the Biological Field Station by Rufus Thayer for the purpose of research and education.
The farm has lakefront property on Otsego Lake, a boat house, trails, and many acres of mature woodlands.
There are more than 80 acres being actively used for agriculture. Twelve buildings are being renovated for student and faculty use.
Rum Hill is a 302-acre site with Appalachian and Northern hardwoods on xeric sites. It also encompasses one of the highest elevations in Otsego County at over 2100 ft.
At Rum Hill, students explore beaver ponds and walk through old fields and early homesteads learning of man's impact on neighbors and the environment.
Greenwoods is located south of NYS Rt. 80 in the Town of Burlington. It comprises more than 1,200 acres of hardwood forests, conifer plantations, and meadows surrounding Cranberry Bog, a 70 acre pristine wetland supporting a unique flora including alkaline fens, a Sphagnum mat and bog community, marsh and open water (Figures 10,11). Elevation varies from a low of 1460 feet above sea level on Butternut Creek to the west to over 2000 feet on five different hilltops. Owned by the Peterson Family Charitable Trust (PFCT), and protected by conservation easements (Appendix 7), much of the wooded lands are managed for forest products under NYS 480a forestry management plans (Appendix 8). It is anticipated that long–term management will result in reducing the acreage in softwoods, enabling native northern hardwoods to reoccupy the majority of the forested areas.
In order to protect native biodiversity in Cranberry Bog we are attempting to reduce disturbance in the watershed by maintaining undisturbed forested buffers adjacent to it. Personnel are restricted to chiefly graduate students and faculty and access to the Bog is restricted to boats maintained on site to preclude the incidence of exotic introductions. It is anticipated that in the future, portions of Cranberry Bog Road adjacent to the bog will be closed to the public.
Outside the bog’s watershed are large areas of forested land, meadow and agricultural lands available for a diversity of educational and research activities. There are more than 25 ponds and wetlands of various sizes. These range from beaver impoundments to man made ponds with maintained dikes. Collectively they form a diverse mosaic of more than 125 acres of wetlands. Cooperative efforts with the US Fish and Wildlife /Service, Ducks Unlimited and the Delaware Otsego Audubon Society, the USDA Natural Resource and Conservation Service and PFCT are in progress to improve and protect existing wildlife and plant habitats.
Infrastructure on the site includes a trailhead shelter and storage area. A conference center including classroom spaces, a wet laboratory and bathroom facilities has been recently been completed. Offices, a conference room and a graduate student living space will soon be available in a renovated residential building. A log cabin, provided with full utilities, is available for short stays for student and faculty researchers. The Peterson Family Compound is located in an envelope near the southwestern corner of the property.
Students enjoy hands-on activities in ecology, terrestrial and aquatic biology. They learn how people's activities impact the natural world and develop an appreciation for the unique environment that is an important part of the Cooperstown experience. Students explore the depths of lakes and ponds with scientific instruments, capture animals and collect plants for research, and learn about new advances in science that are changing the way we live, work and play. They see how land use and cover have changed over time from the influences of native Americans, colonial subsistence farming, and modern agricultural practices, and how these activities impact aquatic resources. To inquire about scheduling a field trip, email Nancy.Devins@oneonta.edu.