On-Campus Opportunities

The Observatory at UVA Wise  

The UVA Wise Observatory represents one of the best science resources that our college has. Located in the upper, northeastern part of our beautiful campus, the new observatory offers an amazing opportunity to students, school groups, families and interested local citizens to see the wonders of the universe through the perspective of a telescope.

The Wetlands at UVA Wise 

The Wetlands at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise is an effort to expand traditional views of land reclamation and Abandoned Mine Drainage (AMD) remediation practices through engaging and educating the public. The Wetlands models an alternative approach to reclaiming land through integrating the arts, history, and environmental design into the aquatic sciences. Through this project, the UVA Wise campus and community groups have created an environment where students can learn about water monitoring, species identification, local ecology, land reclamation, and our region’s heritage. The Wetlands were constructed as passive AMD treatment for a small headwater stream that originates on the UVA Wise campus and makes its way into the Clinch River system, which is one of the continent’s most biodiverse watersheds. 

Both faculty and students take advantage of having a unique wetlands habitat located near physical classrooms and laboratories in the Leonard W. Sandridge Science Center. Classes within the Department of Natural Sciences use The Wetlands for research for both majors and non-majors; however, students from other departments have also spent time there learning about local environmental issues and drawing inspiration from the site’s natural beauty. Campus student groups host clean-ups and invasive species removal projects at the Wetlands, and local schools also have a field-trip destination close to home near downtown Wise. Recent work has expanded the Wetlands to include several acres of reforested minelands, including several potentially blight-resistant American Chestnuts, that were planted by students, faculty and local volunteers in 2012-2013 through a partnership with the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative.

Southwest Virginia Citizen Science Initiative

Southwest Virginia CSI is an interdisciplinary, student-led effort designed to promote southern Appalachian biodiversity as an educational tool while engaging local citizens in the scientific process. The focus of this project, which is being funded through a Dominion Higher Education Partnership, is to emphasize the biodiversity of the Clinch, Powell, and Holston River Valleys of southwest Virginia. To this end, we are developing several tools and partnerships to get citizens outside and experiencing regional biodiversity. Below are links to current project components, including downloadable smartphone apps and student-produced ecological information, that are free to use for individuals, educators, and groups across the region. Future components of the initiative (under development) will involve on-the-ground research projects and educational programs centered around an existing site in the Clinch River watershed.