Outdoor classroom opens at Oak Lake Field Station

Victoria Riggs

Victoria Riggs

Recent renovations to the outdoor classroom at the SDSU Oak Lake Field Station are complete, making it ready for students, instructors and scientists.

The field station, a former Girl Scout camp, was acquired by SDSU in 1987, and is located 25 miles northeast of Brookings in a remote, wooded setting.

The administration building’s size went from 1,935 to 2,679 square feet and it was updated with the addition of a classroom and computer lab for up to 32 students. The classroom’s technology includes wireless high-speed Internet access and digital projection. A small library is combined with the classroom.

The field lab was also expanded with the goal of attracting not only faculty and students, but also scientists and researchers. The new facilities have already been put to use by researchers from the University of Minnesota – Duluth and the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

Funding was provided with a $229,000 grant. The National Science Foundation donated $171,000 of the grant with the remainder made up of matching funds from the Field Station, the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences, and SDSU Central Administration.

In the past the field station was mainly used for class research projects and workshops. Now a lodge-type-dining hall with a stone hearth, kitchen facilities, and limited sleeping accommodations stands near the new classroom and lab.

Nels Troelstrup, Jr., field station director since 1993, wants to see the facilities well used by educators and the general public.

“We are excited about the new facility and we want it to be used. I am hoping that I have to make a proposal in the near future for more staff members who will be busy with the visitors coming here for meetings, learning activities, retreats and research,”

Troelstrop said.

Faculty members or student and community organizations interested in using the field station facilities can make reservations by calling the SDSU biology/microbiology office at 688-6142.