Highlands Biological Foundation opens North Campus
After years of planning, fundraising, and construction, the Highlands Biological Foundation (HBF) officially dedicated the North Campus of the Highlands Biological Station on Sunday, June 5, during a huge community celebration.
Surrounded by blooming mountain laurel along the banks of Lindenwood Lake, hundreds of community members gathered at the North Campus’s native pollinator garden to celebrate the momentous occasion and honor the numerous donors who made the project possible. Among these guests were Western Carolina University Chancellor, Dr. Kelli Brown, and Highlands Mayor, Patrick Taylor, along with those who played major roles in the creation of the North Campus such as Hutch Kerns of Kerns Landscape Architecture and Justin Hicks of Bryson Enterprises.
HBF’s former Director and current Project Coordinator, Sonya Carpenter, noted that the early stages of this project began nearly a decade ago. “We have been working as a community and as a team to build this beautiful garden that is now so full of life. Now is the opportunity for the garden to give back to us in so many ways,” said Carpenter.
HBF’s Past-President, Julia Grumbles, noted that this community space has intergenerational value as it’s used for children’s nature camps, family picnics, meeting and event space, and so much more. She gave a heartfelt thank you to everyone who contributed to the project over the years.
Grumbles served as HBF’s President during the planning and construction of HBS’s North Campus. Carpenter recognized Grumbles as the “puzzle master” of the project. “She was there volunteering her time through all the phases — from the initial ideas, to the design development, every donor event and construction accomplishment — she was there with her strong leadership, careful planning, and enthusiasm. Without her vision, we would not be standing here today,” added Carpenter.
The North Campus boasts an upgraded boardwalk through the wetlands surrounding Lindenwood Lake, a pollinator garden designed to provide excellent habitat for our local wildlife with over 10,000 native individual plants, and a new, innovative, outdoor teaching pavilion featuring a green roof. The space serves as a new door to the Station’s beautiful campus and it’s HBF’s hope that all who live or visit Highlands will come enjoy it.