Members of the Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary took a field trip to the wilds of the Hiram College Barrow Field Station on Wheeler Rd to be enlightened on the scope and purpose of the operation of the facility. One of Hiram College’s curricular centers, its focus is on the Study of Nature and Society, and its director is Matt Hils, professor of biology at the college and the presenter of the program.
Study of Nature and Society encompasses the history of the various views of Nature, either in the Biblical understanding of humans in the world, the Wilderness outlook, the aspect of Conquest, the Romantic perception, the Dawn of Conservation, the Aldo Leopold land ethic or the warnings of Rachel Carson through the New Millennial Environmentalism and business practices with a Sense of Place.
The Field Station itself began with the late Professor James Barrow who arranged for the acquisition of some three hundred eighty-four acres in 1967. Since that time the majors offered involving the station have grown from simply environmental studies and biology to areas involving education, research, conservation…nearly any course of study that can be linked to interaction of people and their environment. There are programs offering courses, seminars and public outreach. There are co-operative ventures involving outside agencies such as the Akron Zoo, the Portage County Park District, the Audubon Society, CWRU in both natural and built environments. There is research in topics such as endangered waterfowl and forest ecology. Support has been broad, including the Ohio Prairie Nursery, with special appreciation to the Frohring Foundation over many years.
Continuing areas of interest and study include Exploring Today’s New Standards, Is the Environment a Valid Overhead Expense?, Geothermal Heating & Cooling (currently in use at the center), increasing the protection of the Silver Creek Watershed. Friends of the Field Station offer frequent programs and activities at the station and in the surrounding community.
The question of “Nature and Society…Part or Apart” is being asked and answers considered every day at the Hiram College Field Station.