The University Forest Environmental Education Center is located at the southeast edge of the Missouri Ozarks, a unique and remote wildland habitat that provides first-hand experiences in upland and bottomland hardwood ecology, forest structure and stand dynamics, and waterfowl biology.
Botanically, the Center is at the junction of several major forest types. To the north and west are the vast oak-hickory and oak-pine forests of the Ozarks. A mile to the southwest is the Bootheel region, where the rich alluvial soils of the Mississippi Delta support the remnants of gigantic bottomland hardwoods and baldcypress.
Scattered throughout the vicinity are small pockets of ecosystems found more typically in the south and east.
One such unique pocket is Crowley's Ridge located just east of Poplar Bluff. Here one can find American beech and yellow-poplar; species usually not found west of the Mississippi River. Likewise, local geology and soils exhibit a vast variability. This great diversity provides excellent opportunities for a variety of field experiences.
Each year since 1947, University of Missouri forestry students have spent part of the summer between their sophomore and junior years at University Forest applying concepts learned in the classroom to real-world situations in the field.
They gain confidence in identifying tree and plant species during their week of forest ecology as they learn about plant succession. Students learn how to measure standing trees and inventory techniques to better understand forest growth dynamics.
They also learn how forest, people and water interact, how fast rainwater leaves the forest and how human activity impacts the quality and quantity of water that the forest receives.
And they also see firsthand various forest management practices employed by professional foresters to ensure a sustainable flow of goods (forest products) and services (clean water and air) from a healthy and productive forest.
Lastly, our students gain an appreciation of the importance of the forest products industry to the economic health of Missouri's economy and to the social health of the state’s rural communities.
- More about Summer Camp, including photos from previous camps