Since 1949, the University of Oklahoma Biological Station (UOBS) has provided students with unique hands on learning experiences through the participation in the outstanding laboratory and field-oriented classes taught by the station’s resident and visiting faculty. Others have had exciting opportunities to participate directly in scientific research. Because of these experiences, many of the station’s former students have been inspired to pursue successful careers in teaching, biological research, medicine or other fields of scientific endeavor. These same students were also likely to receive other important, but perhaps less tangible benefits from their UOBS experience, including raised awareness about the myriad environmental threats facing our planet and how field research plays an essential role in addressing these threats.
In order to continue the UOBS tradition of excellence in undergraduate and graduate education and improve the experience for future students, it is essential that attention be paid not only to the academic curricula, quality of instructors, and types of research opportunities provided by the station, but also the state of its facilities. As the station ages, it is essential that the buildings be maintained and repaired so that adequate housing, classroom, and laboratory space are available for students. If the station is to continue to develop and improve it also will be necessary to modernize the UOBS facilities so they can meet rapidly changing educational and scientific needs. Although some of these updates and maintenance issues will be addressed directly by the university, former students of the Biological Station can make a considerable contribution by joining Friends of the University of Oklahoma Biological Station (FUOBS) and supporting its efforts to raise funds for the specific projects that have been targeted as high priorities by the station’s director, Dr. Gary Wellborn. These projects include improvements designed to create more flexible space and provide air conditioning in classroom and laboratory spaces, remodeling of the library conference center in order to make its space more useful and pleasing for the many visitors to the station, installation of restrooms in the library conference center and enhancement of social spaces where students, staff and visitors can mingle, dine, or conduct informal meetings. Work on these social spaces has already begun in the lobby of the main building, where the flooring is being replaced and the walls remodeled and redecorated to provide a better initial impression of the station and more effectively display its work and history. Additional planned projects include improvement of the cafeteria’s dining porch with addition of a canopy to provide shade, remodeling of the recreation room, and development of a walking path and a nature trail.
In closing, we would like to encourage you to visit the UOBS website and the associated FUOBS page where you can find current information about the station. This site also has a link to a donation form for those of you who would like to contribute to FUOBS’ efforts to support the projects described above. We also would like to invite you and other former students to the next meeting of FUOBS that will occur at UOBS in October, 2013. This meeting will give you a chance to meet other former students, relax in the station’s natural setting and participate in the activities planned for the event, including the sale of books and other donated items, a chance to win raffle items and the grand finale, which is an auction of many interesting and valuable items donated by supporters of the station. Please note overnight accommodations and meals are available onsite for a reasonable fee.