Highlands Biological Station is open to visitors. Masks are still required in the Nature Center, but are no longer required on campus, including the Botanical Garden. Highlands Biological Station is offering academic and public programming this summer. For the safety of the HBS summer community, before being permitted to work or study at HBS prospective summer students, teaching faculty, and researchers must provide documentation of (1) having received a Covid-19 vaccine or (2) a negative Covid-19 test taken within 3 days of planned arrival.

Highlands Biological Station

Research & Teaching Laboratory, Nature Center, Botanical Garden and Foundation

The Highlands Biological Station (HBS) is a multi-campus center of Western Carolina University consisting of academic research, teaching, and residential facilities as well as a natural history museum (Highlands Nature Center) and a 12-acre native plant botanical garden (Highlands Botanical Garden). The Highlands Biological Station is primarily University-supported, with additional funding provided by grants, program revenue, and the non-profit Highlands Biological Foundation, Inc. Our mission is:

To foster research and education focused on the rich natural heritage of the Highlands Plateau, while preserving and celebrating the integrity of the “biological crown of the southern Appalachian Mountains.”

HBS realizes its mission of education and research broadly through (1) support of scientific research and graduate training, (2) an annual program of accredited field biology courses for undergraduate and graduate students as well as hosting visiting academic groups, and (3) a diverse outreach programming for regional K-12 schools and the local community. 

Reserve a time to visit the Nature Center!

The Highlands Nature Center is opening for summer hours beginning Friday, May 28th. Free reservations are recommended to visit.

Join HBF for our

Zahner Conservation Lectures

Click below to view our full Zahner lecture lineup. These free lectures are held every Thursday evening at 6 p.m. until Sept. 9th.

Station Research

Research facilities at the Highlands Biological Station support a wide range of field and laboratory investigations. Explore the history of the facilities and history of research at the Highlands Biological Station.

Nature Center Nights!

Join us for our Nature Center Night programs this summer! These programs will be held each Tuesday night at 9 p.m. between June 1st and July 27th. Each week, we will focus on a nature-related topic. See our program offerings and dates by clicking below.

Botanical Garden

Explore our living laboratory, learn more about native plants, and get directions to visit here.


Contact Us

Our helpful staff is here to assist you with your visit, research and support of the Highlands Biological Station. Find the best contact for your needs here.

Highlands Biological Station is a multi-campus center of Western Carolina University,

a unit of the University of North Carolina System.

Contact Us

For general inquiries please call 828.526.2602

265 North Sixth Street
Highlands, NC 28741

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