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. 

2023 Galapagos Trip

Join HBS Executive Director Dr. Jim Costa on an educational expedition to the Galapagos Islands, December 6-15, 2023. Proceeds support HBS!

Summer Courses

Our summer 2023 course schedule is now available! These field-based courses are great for students and professionals alike!

Environmental Data

Near-real time environmental streaming data is now available! Click below for more information.

Upcoming Events

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

Nature Center Nights

Join us each Tuesday & Wednesday night as we search for salamanders, learn about regional folklore, & search the moonlit skies for bats.


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.

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.


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