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.

Oconee Bell in bloom at HBS. Photo by Jason P. Love.


Field Equipment

HBS maintains an extensive menu of field equipment available to researchers and visiting classes.  Contact Associate Director Jason Love ( for inquiries and reservations.  Fees apply for some equipment.


  • GPS units (Garmin GPSmap 62s & GPSMap 66i)
  • Kestrel 5500 hand-held weather meters (temp, barometric pressure, wind speed)
  • Geological hammers
  • Tape measures
  • Flagging tape, pin flags
  • Counters
  • Timers
  • Thermometers
  • HOBO stream temperature loggers
  • Sieves
  • Snake gaiters
  • Snake hook


  • Aerial and sweep nets
  • Kill jars
  • Pinning equipment (pinning blocks, spreading boards; insect pins not provided)
  • Hand lenses
  • Black lights
  • Light traps
  • Berlese funnels
  • Malaise traps
  • Emergence traps
  • Beat sheets
  • Aspirators


  • Kick nets
  • D-nets
  • Seines
  • Surber Sampler
  • Secchi disks
  • Buckets, specimen trays
  • Two ISCO automated stream samplers, including pressure transducers for measuring stage
  • Waders
  • Self-leveling rotary laser kit for measure stream gradients

Botany / Forest Ecology

  • Plant presses (blotting paper, frame, straps)
  • Pressed plant dryers
  • Hand lenses
  • DBH tapes
  • Tree corers – up to 32” length
  • Spherical densiometers


  • Binoculars
  • Mist nets (must have banding license to use)


  • Sherman small mammal folding traps