Stacy McNulty has been elected president of the Organization of Biological Field Stations (OBFS), a more than 50-year old international organization that supports research, education and outreach at field stations.
SUNY ESF’s Adirondack Ecological Center (AEC) has been a member for about 25 years according to McNulty, who is an ecologist and associate director of the AEC. Prior to becoming president, McNulty served as board secretary, member-at-large and chair of the Human Diversity Committee.
Members of OBFS operate field facilities for scientists, students, teachers and the public to pursue understanding of environmental changes and challenges. The practice of place-based observation at field stations can enhance scientists’ ability to see natural patterns and processes. Field stations don’t feel as formal as a traditional academic setting, but by providing a real-world context, field stations facilitate natural science research. For example, pollution and water quality, pollination, and potential wildlife-human disease spread are explored by monitoring, experimenting and testing sensors in the field.
There are approximately 1,200 field stations in locations from desert to mountains to coastal regions, ranging in size from a few tents to large dorms with facilities supported by university, government or non-profit organizations.
One role of field stations is documenting environmental conditions across space and time. The AEC has records going back 85-plus years that show changes on the Huntington Wildlife Forest, including 350-year-old unmanaged forests, lakes and experimentally-manipulated forest stands.
Photo of Stacy McNulty provided.