VCR Pier

The Department of Environmental Sciences is located in Clark Hall, along with the Science and Engineering Library, on the central grounds of the University of Virginia. Additional laboratory space is located in Halsey Hall. Departmental facilities include field vehicles, boats, darkroom, a machine and electronics shop, environmental chambers, analytical chemistry laboratories with extensive instrumentation, computers, a GIS facility, NAFAX and FAA weather information, and GOES-Tap satellite receiver.

Some of the department’s major interdisciplinary research initiatives that are based on campus include PIRCH, SWAS, and GECP. The Program of Interdisciplinary Research in Contaminant Hydrogeology (PIRCH) is staffed by several department faculty and faculty from other departments. Research on hydrogeology, geochemistry, and microbiology of the subsurface is underway in the laboratory, on the computer, and in the field. Also making use of laboratories in Clark Hall is the Shenandoah Watershed Study program (SWAS), where ongoing measurement of precipitation and stream-water properties occurs in order to determine the concentration and flux of chemical material along hydrologic pathways in the forested mountain watersheds of nearby Shenandoah National Park and the mid-Appalachian region. The labs and computer facilities of Halsey and Maury Halls are used by the Global Environmental Change Program (GECP) for processing samples collected at field sites, running computer simulation models, and for remote-sensing. Additionally, the Virginia State Climatology Office is also located in Clark Hall.

Departmental field stations and facilities include the VFRF, VCR-LTER, and Blandy Farm. The Virginia Forest Research Facility (VFRF) is part of the Pace/Steger teaching/research site located in nearby Fluvanna County. This field site, representing a secondary growth, mixed deciduous forest and associated riparian zones in the Piedmont of central Virginia, has a 40-m meteorological tower for measuring trace gas exchanges as well as facilities and equipment used primarily for undergraduate and graduate teaching purposes. The Virginia Coast Reserve/Long-Term Ecological Research program (VCR/LTER) is based on Virginia’s Eastern Shore and is another major interdisciplinary research initiative of the department. A laboratory/dormitory facility is located at Oyster, VA, and individuals from all disciplines in the department as well as from other universities and institutions carry out research related to coastal systems through the LTER program. Another focus of ecological research is centered on the 700 acre Blandy Experimental Farm located near Front Royal, VA. Blandy contains cropland, fields, and forest, office and domitory buildings, and is home to the Orland E. White State Arboretum of Virginia. Faculty and students also conduct research at the Mountain Lake Biological Station, a research and teaching facility located in the deciduous hardwood forest of the Allegheny Mountains of southwestern Virginia and administered by the Biology Department at UVA.