Nature Center


  Highlands Nature Center was founded as the museum of the Highlands Biological Station in 1927, and was originally housed as an annex to the Hudson Library. Its present home, the Clark Foreman Museum building, was constructed between 1939 and 1941 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) using native granite from the local quarry and […]



The Highlands Biological Foundation, Inc., is a private, non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that represents the continuation of the original private corporation that founded the Highlands Biological Station and supported it for its first 50 years of operation (1927-1977). Its mission is to raise funds, invest these, and use the income to support the research and educational […]

Botanical Garden


The Highlands Botanical Garden was established in 1962 as a refuge and demonstration garden for the diverse flora of the Southern Appalachians and its unique communities.  Nearly 500 species of mosses, ferns, wildflowers, shrubs and trees flourish in natural forest, wetlands and old-growth plant communities connected by a series of trails and boardwalks.  Several unique […]

What is a Biological Station?

The Laboratory, Nature Center, and Botanical Garden are part of the Station, which is supported in part by the Foundation.  The three panels of the logo symbolize these entities: The Nature Center is represented by the salamander, the Botanical Garden by Oconee bells, and the research and educational dimension of the Station and Foundation is represented by the central panel signifying the ecology of the Highlands Plateau.

Biological field stations and marine labs have been centers of environmental science for a century—the places where scientists go to study environmental processes in their natural context. They are crucibles of innovation and discovery, storehouses of increasingly critical historical information, and hubs of integrated research; they have the infrastructure to support complex experiments and to maintain long-term projects. They give researchers reliable access to the environment… They accumulate and integrate multidisciplinary, place-based knowledge that provides a baseline from which to evaluate environmental change. They also transform the lives of students of all ages and serve as training grounds fro the next generation of scientific leaders. Finally, they are on the front lines of integrating science into decision-making and of communicating science to the general public.

– Excerpt from Field Stations and Marine Laboratories of the Future: A Strategic Vision written by the Organization of Biological Field Stations


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    Summer Camps

    The Nature Center offers a series of nature day camps each summer for ages 4 to 14.  Younger campers will have fun exploring the outdoors and learning about plants and animals through a variety of activities and games.  Older campers will conduct scientific research, develop team-building skills, and observe nature on adventure field trips into […]

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    Every fall, the Highlands Biological Station hosts students from UNC-Chapel Hill and Western Carolina University, who participate in the UNC Institute for the Environment’s Highlands Field Site.  As part of the field site, students conduct a Capstone group research project which, for the past two years, has consisted of updating the Upper Cullasaja Watershed Association’s […]

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    Courses & Workshops

      The Station offers several courses each summer at the advanced undergraduate/graduate level dealing with the special biological features of the Southern Appalachians and with areas of study that are appropriate for investigation at a mountain field station.  Credit for all courses is available through either UNC-Chapel Hill or Western Carolina University. In addition to our regular summer courses, HBS often […]

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    Backyard Naturalists

    The Highlands Biological Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of Backyard Naturalists.  The mission of Backyard Naturalists is to inspire a lifelong appreciation of the natural world in children through educational programming that integrates science, art, and technology. The program will draw from the considerable educational resources of the Highlands Nature Center, where staff […]

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    Nature Center

    The Nature Center offers exhibits and year-round educational programming focusing on the biodiversity of the southern Appalachian region. Programming includes pre-K-12 outreach, special events and daily activities during the summer that are open to the general public, as well as summer nature camps for ages 4 to 14. Younger campers explore the outdoors and learn […]