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little field station on the prairies

The Cypress Hills are about 600 metres above the prairies and are one of only a few places not completely covered by ice during the Wisconsin glaciation period, giving it a unique climate and habitat.

For more than 50 years, budding U of R biology students and faculty members have convened in Cypress Hills at the field station – three ATCO trailers attached together – to complete important research that has led to internationally significant discoveries. For more than 25 years, Dr. Mark Brigham, a U of R professor of biology, has brought students from his animal behaviour class to the field station to complete their field work.

“The field station really is a unique and special place,” says Brigham. “It provides a valuable experiential learning experience not available at larger universities.”

The genesis of countless peer-reviewed publications, theses, and academic presentations at international scientific conferences can be credited to work undertaken at the field station. Student papers share field station research on everything from forest fires to invasive species and from water conservation to discoveries into how animals can assist farmers with their crops and where to position wind turbines to help protect bats. Students have benefitted from the field station experience and the community at large has benefitted from the vast amount of research that has come out of the field station.

“There are some extraordinarily bright and capable people who have felt lucky to be able to spend time, or their entire summers here, doing the research they have done, and doing it very, very well,” says Brigham.

With more than half a century of important research, a new vision for the field station will build on past and present strengths. Improved and larger living facilities, a new, more accessible Cypress Hills location, new communication tools, and larger facilities will help future students to help the field station expand and help to produce valuable student experiences and strengthen the U of R’s reputation as a leader in research.

If you would like to learn more about the University of Regina field station, contact Luanne Drake at 306-337-2450 or luanne.drake@uregina.ca.

Read about the U of R field station in the Fall 2019/Winter 2020 issue of Discourse.

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