In accordance with Western Carolina University’s policies in response to Covid-19, Highlands Biological Station is currently closed to the public with the exception of the Botanical Garden trails, but does remain open to researchers and faculty on a limited basis; please contact the HBS office (828-526-2602) for information on reservations, rates, and Covid-19 policies.  We currently plan to offer our field courses, workshops, Grant-in-Aid program, and HBS Nature Center programs in summer 2021, with Covid-19 safety protocols in place (TBA).​ Please bear in mind, however, that University policy and HBS program plans are subject to change in light of developments with the pandemic this winter and spring, and those interested in attending HBS courses or programs or utilizing HBS facilities in spring or summer 2021 should check the HBS website regularly for updates.

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. 

Virtual Learning

While HBS is closed, check out these great resources for at home naturalist activities and video tours of our gardens.

2021 Kids Camps – FAQs

Click below for more information regarding our plans for summer nature camps.

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.

Drawdown Book Club

This club will delve into the book Drawdown and facilitate discussion about what actions we can take today to mitigate our negative impacts on the climate. 

Botanical Garden

Explore our living laboratory!

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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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