Wellesley Part of New Consortium to Support Ecosystem Science

For immediate release:
May 28, 2008

Contact: Judy Brown, jbrown@hbresearchfoundation.org
603-653-0390 x102

HANOVER, NH. —Wellesley College is one of five institutions that have joined with the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation to form a consortium to support research, education, and policy initiatives at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in central New Hampshire, the site of one of the longest running and most comprehensive ecosystem studies in the world.

In addition to Wellesley, charter members of the Hubbard Brook Consortium are Dartmouth College, Plymouth State University, Syracuse University, and the U.S. Forest Service’s Northern Research Station.

Hubbard Brook is perhaps best known as the place where acid rain was discovered in North America in the mid-1960’s. For the past 45 years, hundreds of scientists representing dozens of research institutions have been part of the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study, a world-renowned scientific enterprise that investigates the patterns and processes governing forest ecosystems.

“Wellesley College has had a long-standing connection to Hubbard Brook through the work of Professor Nicholas Rodenhouse, who has studied migratory birds there for more than 20 years,” said Andrew Shennan, Dean of Wellesley College. “Our decision to become a founding member of the consortium reflects the College’s strong commitment to research and education in the field of environmental studies. We fully expect that this consortium will enable Professor Rodenhouse and his colleagues to introduce more Wellesley students to the important discipline of ecosystem science.”

The Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, an 8,000-acre site located within the White Mountain National Forest in Thornton, NH, is administered by the U.S. Forest Service. Hubbard Brook is part of the National Science Foundation’s Long-term Ecological Research (LTER) network, which comprises 26 research sites.

Scientific experiments and data gathering at Hubbard Brook have informed policies and management practices affecting some of the nation’s most vexing environmental problems, including acid rain, clear cutting and other destructive forestry practices, and pollution from lead, nitrogen, and road salt. Increasingly, Hubbard Brook scientists are turning their attention to the study of forest carbon and the effects of climate change on the plants, animals, and biogeochemical processes of northeastern temperate forests.

According to David Sleeper, Executive Director of the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation, “A key objective of the Hubbard Brook Consortium will be to attract new generations of students to ecosystem science, including students from minority and other underrepresented populations in the field of ecology. We also hope to bring international students to the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest. In this way, the Consortium will help ensure a bright future for the study of vital forested ecosystems.”

As part of its inaugural program in 2008, the Hubbard Brook Consortium has awarded grants to four students to travel to Hubbard Brook this summer to perform individual research projects, working with senior scientists. 

The Hubbard Brook Research Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization in New Hampshire with a mission to promote the understanding and stewardship of ecosystems through scientific research, long-term monitoring, and education. Founded in 1993, HBRF works to sustain and enhance the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, the National Science Foundation’s LTER program, and many colleges, universities, and other research institutions. More information about the foundation is available at http://www.hubbardbrookfoundation.org/.