Policies Document 

The Natural Areas, managed by Emporia State University, include seven Biological Natural Areas (Campus Woods, Charles Coughlen Natural Area, Dunlap Bottoms, F.B. and Rena G. Ross Natural History Reservation, Neva Marsh, Reading Woods Natural Area, and Sarah Howe Natural Area) and one Geological Natural Area (Hamilton Fossil Quarry).  The Natural Areas are administered through the Departments of Biological Sciences and Physical Sciences by the appointment of a Director of Natural Areas, a Director of Johnston Geology Museum, and a faculty advisory committee to oversee and implement the mission of “teaching, research, and preservation” for each of the eight areas.

DIRECTIVE PERSONNEL

The following diagram illustrates the chain of responsibility and decision-making authority:

Emporia State University

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College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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Departments of Biological Sciences and Physical Sciences

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Director of Natural Areas

(with Director of Johnston Geology Museum for Hamilton Fossil Quarry *)

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Natural Areas Advisory Committee

[*Given the unique nature of Hamilton Fossil Quarry relative to the Biological Natural Areas, responsibility and decision-making authority for the Quarry at this level in the administrative chain resides with the Director of the Johnston Geology Museum.  However, the Director of the Johnston Geology Museum will consult with the Director of Natural Areas to ensure that the Quarry fits within the overall framework and plan for the Natural Areas.]

The Natural Areas Advisory Committee is composed of seven Emporia State University faculty members.  Membership includes the Director of Natural Areas (from the Department of Biological Sciences), the Director of the Johnston Geology Museum (from the Departments of Physical Sciences), and five appointed faculty members, at least three of whom must be members of the Department of Biological Sciences.  The Committee serves an advisory role to the Director of Natural Areas for issues falling outside the purview of the Natural Areas Policies document, interpretation of policies, or other issues with which the Director may need advice.  The Director of Natural Areas acts as Chair of the Natural Areas Advisory Committee and has the following additional responsibilities (these responsibilities will generally be deferred to the Director of Johnston Geology Museum for issues regarding Hamilton Fossil Quarry):

  • Act as a liaison between the committee and the faculty, staff members, students, and class groups.
  • Approve all projects, research, construction, improvement, and general use of the Natural Areas.
  • Interpret, execute, and enforce the decisions of the committee.
  • Encourage and assist individuals and groups in using the Natural Areas for research and teaching purposes. It is not the Director’s responsibility to conduct the planning or provide labor for these activities.
  • Organize and process data provided by individuals using the Natural Areas.
  • Archive articles, publications, maps, and print collections pertaining to the Natural Areas and the immediate region.
  • Present talks and/or conduct tours for non-campus groups in an effort to facilitate appreciation, support, and cooperation.
  • Supervise the Graduate-Student Naturalist, and any work-study students employed by the Natural Areas.
  • Manage the budget for the Natural Areas and participate in fund-raising activities.
  • Conduct routine maintenance and management of the Natural Areas.

GENERAL RESTRICTIONS

  • All forms of hunting, fishing, and commercial trapping are prohibited on the Natural Areas, except with the written permission of the Director of  Natural Areas.
  • Camping and picnic activities are prohibited on the Natural Areas except on the mowed areas surrounding the headquarters building on the Ross Natural History Reservation. Written permission must be obtained from the Director of Natural Areas for camping and picnic activities. Persons may be allowed to reside in the trailers at the Ross Natural History Reservation for the purposes of conducting research.  Students occupying the naturalist position may also reside in one of the trailers. The Director must be contacted for permission, and to discuss payment for rooms.
  • All classes making field trips to any of the Natural Areas must be accompanied by a staff member of the Department of Biological Sciences or  the Departments of Physical Sciences. Individual students conducting independent research projects on the Natural Areas may visit the Natural Areas unaccompanied provided they have prior written approval from the Director of Natural Areas. Written permission must be obtained from the Director to ensure there is no conflict with ongoing research projects. A copy of any resulting publications (including academic theses and dissertations) from such research must be provided to the Director of Natural Areas.
  • All non-college groups or classes (including Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H, town clubs and organizations, etc.) must be accompanied by a staff member of the Department of Biological Sciences, or the Departments of Physical Sciences. Written permission must be obtained from the Director of Natural Areas to ensure there is no conflict with ongoing projects.

OBTAINING PERMISSION FOR A PROJECT OR FIELD INVESTIGATION

Research and field investigations of all types by qualified individuals or groups are encouraged on the Natural Areas. An outline of the proposed investigation should be given to the Director of Natural Areas. The Director may choose to forward the proposal to the members of the Natural Areas Committee for comments. If the Committee is asked to comment on a proposal, members will have one week, after which, in the absence of any voiced concern, the proposal will be considered approved, and the Director will notify persons seeking approval. The Director has the right to refuse a proposal, or suggest changes, without notifying the Committee if the proposed investigation conflicts with an ongoing approved investigation. Proposals to conduct research on the Natural Areas must contain the following information:

  • Background
    • Put the study in an appropriate scientific context; include references to relevant literature
    • State your question(s)
  • Objectives
    • List the observations or tests to be performed that will address your question(s)
  • Methods
    • Proposed locality of study
    • Proposed field procedures, including any equipment and supplies to be used
    • Proposed analyses to achieve your objectives
  • Proposed task schedule, including duration of study
  • Eventual goal of study (thesis, publications, student projects, presentations, etc.)
  • Evidence of collecting permit and Animal Care and Use Committee (ACUC) approval if appropriate

Copies of all resulting publications (including academic theses and dissertations) of the investigation must be filed with the Director of Natural Areas as permanent records. Investigators should cite the Natural Areas as an acknowledgment in any publications or presentations that make use of data collected on the Natural Areas.

Researchers using the Natural Areas whose projects involve assessment of fire impacts and/or the Ross Experimental Disturbance Plots are expected to volunteer for prescribed burns at the Natural Areas where their projects are sited.

OBTAINING PERMISSION FOR OTHER ACTIVITIES

Activities not directly involving research, including (but not limited to) field trips for students of Emporia State University or any other educational institution also are encouraged. An outline of the proposed activity and the number of students involved should be given to the Director of Natural Areas. The Director may choose to forward the proposal to the members of the Natural Areas Committee for comments. If the committee is asked to comment on a proposal, they will have one week, after which, in the absence of any voiced concern, the proposal will be considered approved, and the Director will notify persons seeking approval. The Director has the right to refuse a proposal, or suggest changes, without notifying the Committee if the proposed activity conflicts with an ongoing approved investigation. In the event that approved activities must be postponed, rescheduling may be approved by the Director. A copy of any data (including observational data) collected during the course of such activities must be given to the Director. Any activities involving live-trapping, manipulation, or removal of specimens constitute research activities, and permission should be obtained as per “OBTAINING PERMISSION FOR A PROJECT OR FIELD INVESTIGATION.”

PROGRESS REPORTS

This section pertains to improvement and research projects that extend for more than one calendar year, or improvement and research projects that are completed within one calendar year but do not culminate in a thesis or publication.

  • Projects extending more than one calendar year.  --  The project supervisor must provide the Director of Natural Areas with a brief written progress report at the end of each calendar year in which the project is conducted. Upon completion of the project the project supervisor must inform the Director of its completion, and comply with the expectations listed under “COMPLETED RESEARCH PROJECTS OR INVESTIGATIONS”.
  • Projects completed in one calendar year that do not culminate in a thesis or publication.  --  The project supervisor must inform the Director of Natural Areas when the project is completed, and comply with the expectations listed under “COMPLETED RESEARCH PROJECTS OR INVESTIGATIONS”.

COMPLETED RESEARCH PROJECTS OR INVESTIGATIONS

Upon completion of a research project, it is the responsibility of the project supervisor to make sure that any equipment, including flagging, is removed from the site of the investigation. The Director must be provided copies of publications (including academic theses and dissertations) arising from work done on the Natural Areas. If the results of the project are not published or included in a thesis, a brief written report must be submitted to the Director. The report should be prepared in standard scientific format using the original project outline as a guide.

REMOVAL OF SPECIMENS

Plant specimens may be collected and removed from the Natural Areas only in connection with research or field studies that have been approved by the Director of Natural Areas. Specimens must be deposited in the reference collection housed at the Ross Natural History Reservation. In the case of duplicate collections, a second specimen must also be filed in the Department of Biological Sciences herbarium. Plant fossils must be turned over to the Johnston Geology Museum.

All proposals involving the trapping or collection of animals must be approved in writing by the Director of Natural Areas. Voucher specimens of species not represented in the collections maintained by the Department of Biological Sciences should be deposited in the appropriate reference collections. Vertebrate specimens found dead on the Natural Areas should be recorded on a map data card and the card turned over to the Director of Natural Areas.  The specimen should be left dead where noted, unless deemed to be of taxonomic or biogeographic importance, in which case the specimen must be turned over to the Director of the Schmidt Museum of Natural History. Persons seeking permission for collection on the Natural Areas are responsible for assuring they have the appropriate permits and ACUC approval where appropriate. Animal fossils must be turned over to the Johnston Geology Museum.

INTRODUCTION OF SPECIMENS

The introduction of plant or animal species is not permitted on the Natural Areas without the written approval of the Director of Natural Areas. Written requests must be submitted to the Director, and include the species to be introduced, the source of the organisms, the estimated number to be introduced, the specific locality and date, and the justification for the introduction. Introductions for the mere sake of beautification are contrary to the philosophy of a natural area and are, therefore, not permitted.

EXPERIMENTAL INVESTIGATIONS

Experimental investigations are defined as any investigations that involve the alteration of natural conditions. No location restrictions exist for experimental investigations, unless there is a conflict with an ongoing investigation. Individuals proposing such investigations, including those conducted as a class activity, must follow the standard procedure outlined for obtaining clearance for a research project or field study and all other related procedures that might be included within the scope of the proposal.

REFERENCE COLLECTIONS

Reference collections for the Natural Areas are housed at the Ross Natural History Reservation in the permanent headquarters building. Identified and preserved specimens should be given to the Director of Natural Areas for archiving. Lists of organisms encountered during field trips and/or as the result of live-trapping should also be given to the Director to be archived with the specimen collections. Site records of plants and animals should be recorded on the specimen data cards. Supplies of these cards may be obtained from the Director, or in the biology department office.

PHYSICAL IMPROVEMENTS

Construction, alteration, or improvement projects on the Natural Areas must have the prior written approval of the Director of Natural Areas. Pending approval, the Director will proceed to investigate cost, materials, and labor, and initiate arrangements for the accomplishment of the improvements. The Director’s role is to organize and facilitate the effort, and not to assume responsibility for the labor involved.

MAIN BUILDING

The headquarters building on the Ross Natural History Reservation is available for use by all individuals working on the reservation. Because laboratory space is limited, no storage of equipment or tools is allowed in the main building. Contact the Director of Natural Areas if laboratory space is required in the main building. The classroom is available as both a teaching space and a work space. In order to avoid conflicts, use of the classroom requires written approval from the Director. Except in the case of emergency, all phone calls made from the Ross Natural History Reservation must be made on personal calling cards.