Archbold Biological Station

Archbold Biological Station
At the south end of the Lake Wales Ridge in Central Florida sits a world-class scientific research center, Archbold Biological Station. Lake Wales Ridge is one of 5 ridges oriented north-south in peninsular Florida. These ridges were once ancient barrier islands, which, because of their isolation, were inhabited by species found nowhere else.

Archbold Biological Station comprises 8,841 acres of oak scrub habitat. Because of the ongoing loss of this habitat to development and agriculture, the center serves as an important preserve for the flora and fauna of the scrub, a natural laboratory for visiting biologists and students to study the region’s rare species.

The mission of Archbold Biological Station is “to build and share the scientific knowledge needed to protect the life, lands, and waters of the heart of Florida and beyond.”

History

In 1929, John A. Roebling II purchased 1,058 acres of land, 8 miles south of Lake Placid, as a winter estate. He named it Red Hill because of its orange sand. Roebling was an engineer, the grandson and son of engineers who had designed and built the Brooklyn Bridge, so he built the structures on his estate to be practical and durable. The buildings were constructed of poured concrete with steel girders that supported concrete and tile roofs. Doors, windows, and other exterior fixtures were made of bronze and copper.

In 1935, a few years after his wife died, Roebling decided to sell or donate Red Hill. His son, Donald Roebling, arranged to have the estate donated to one of his old school friends, Richard Archbold. Archbold was a famous aviator and explorer, grandson to John Dustin Archbold, second president of Standard Oil of New Jersey. He was a major contributor to the American Museum of Natural History, organizing, funding, and leading 3 biological expeditions to New Guinea in the 1930s. He established Archbold Biological Station in 1941, when WWII put an end to his expeditions.

In 1987, 11 years after Archbold’s death, the U. S. Department of the Interior recognized Archbold Biological Station as a National Natural Landmark. In 2007, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places for “its architectural, scientific, and conservation significance.” In 2008, the Florida Division of Historical Resources gave it Florida Heritage Landmark status.

Programs

In addition to its scientific research facilities, Archbold Biological Station offers environmental education programs to schoolchildren and scientific training for undergraduate and graduate students. It is also open for visits by the general public. Programs for visitors include tours of the property, guided hikes, and lectures.

The LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Frances Archbold Hufty Learning Center, built in 2011, welcomes visitors with information and displays about the organization and about the scrub ecosystem. Restrooms and water fountains are located inside the learning center. Behind this building is the trailhead for a self-guided nature trail through the scrub environment. Visitors can sign in and get maps of the compound and information about upcoming programs at the Welcome Office, open Monday through Friday, 8a.m. to 5p.m. A picnic area can be found adjacent to the Archbold Expeditions Plaza. Entry to the site is free, but a $5/person donation is suggested.

Archbold Biological Station is located at:
123 Main Drive
Venus FL 33960
Phone: (863)465-2571




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