The Kennesaw State University Field Station, managed by the Office of Research, is
a 25-acre property located along a tree-lined road parallel to Interstate 75 approximately
two miles from the Kennesaw Campus.
Field Station projects span multiple colleges, from an ongoing study of European starlings
by assistant professor of biology Sarah Guindre-Parker to a small farm with edible
vegetables supervised by geography professors Jason Rhodes and Vanessa Slinger-Friedman.
In addition to giving faculty a chance to engage in interdisciplinary research projects,
the Field Station also offers the community multiple activities to learn about sustainability.
The Field Station offers community partners educational programming, activities, and
special events related to sustainability. These activities have included a Beginner
Beekeeping Workshop, Small Farms Tool demonstration, and the very popular workshop
on Growing Culinary Mushrooms at home.
Additionally, the facility welcomes volunteers to participate in weekly community
service opportunities assisting with field and ground maintenance, planting, harvesting,
and helping with seasonal necessities.
Research at the Field Station
Applied and Integrated Crop Science
At the KSU Field Station, the KSU PlantEcoFizz lab is integrating physiological measurements
of crops grown under various conditions with their physical (thermal), chemical (sugar,
nutrients), and biological (leaf & root microbes) characteristics.
In collaboration with Dr. Sathish Gurupatham from the Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Dr. Mario Bretfeld and students are currently working to understand whether organic
farming translates into differences of the biochemical and thermal properties – and
thus the shelf life – of tomatoes.
In 2017 alone, mushroom sales accounted for more than $1.2 billion in U.S. economic
impact with over 929 million pounds produced according to the American Mushroom Institute.
Yet these spore-bearing fruiting bodies of fungi, known for their nutritional and
medicinal properties, are still underutilized.
Dr. Chris Cornelison and Dr. Kyle Gabriel of KSU's BioInnovation Laboratory are trying
to change that trend by leveraging technology to optimize high growth yields and varieties
of this crop in Georgia.
The mission of FAFL is to provide opportunities in research, training, and service
related to forensic anthropology and related disciplines. Our field lab includes a
variety of open, wooded, and underground environments to facilitate cutting-edge research
and training in clandestine grave recovery.
Urban environments can offer increased opportunities for wildlife—such as new types
of food or shelter—but also new dangers. Building sustainable cities will require
understanding how urban living influences animals, including both the benefits and
costs that come with life in these novel environments. At the Kennesaw State University
Field Station, the Guindre-Parker lab is exploring how urbanization shapes the behavior
and physiological health of birds.
The surprising discovery of two wild American chestnut trees at the KSU Field Station
was the catalyst for a new area of research in conservation. Field Station Operations
Manager Michael Blackwell and Dr. Kyle Gabriel received a grant from The American
Chestnut Foundation (TACF), which originally confirmed the identification of the trees
through genetic testing.
The KSU Food Forest serves as a model of sustainable urban cultivation, demonstrating
the potential of food forest systems to mitigate climate change and promote food security
and health. The KSU Food Forest project was created by geography professors Dr. Jason
Rhodes and Dr. Vanessa Slinger-Friedman, along with Michael Blackwell, operations
manager of the KSU Field Station.