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  (3)hosting visiting academic groups, and (4) a diverse outreach programming for regional K-12 schools and the local community. 

Plan Your Visit to Highlands Nature Center

The Nature Center is open for spring hours. Summer hours and free, daily educational programs begin on May 30th! PLUS, we’ll have special hours Memorial Day Weekend.

Summer Course & Workshop Registration Now Open!

Interested in lichens, amphibians, or spiders? Click below to see which courses & workshops HBS is offering this year. 

Station Research

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

Upcoming Events

Join HBS & HBF for our upcoming events! See our program offerings & dates by clicking below.

Botanical Garden

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

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Contact Us

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

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Institute for the Environment Blog 

The IE students have started their own blog  to chronicle their research progress. Click below to see it!


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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