Western Carolina University is home to a new institute that will bring together scientists, policymakers, economic development experts, natural resource managers and other interested parties in an effort to preserve regional water resources while trying to ensure economic prosperity.
Representatives of five universities and from private business and industry will convene – some live and in person, others via videoconferencing – at Western Carolina University for a daylong symposium Tuesday, Aug. 14, on the future of photonics in North and South Carolina.
Western Carolina University researchers are using geographic information systems technology and radio transmitters to track timber rattlesnakes to determine whether new mountain subdivisions and road-building are pushing an animal listed as a “species of special concern” toward the endangered list.
The rich biodiversity surrounding Highlands Biological Station attracts researchers from around the world, and Scott Higgins, dean of the Graduate School and Research, takes pride knowing Western faculty are among them. Higgins just wishes more of the students conducting research at the nearby interinstitutional research station in Highlands were Catamounts.
The majority of collegiate textbooks about river contamination lacked all of the information for assessing water quality that Jerry Miller, the Blanton J. Whitmire Distinguished Professor in Environmental Science, wanted his students to have.
The term “wetland” is not typically associated with the mountain environment that surrounds Western Carolina University, but a group of WCU students received some valuable training in how to mark a wetland boundary not too far from campus.
Fast-moving mountain landslides called “debris flows” topped the news in September 2004 when one such slide killed five people in Macon County’s Peeks Creek community, but it is another type of less-understood slope failure that is the focus of a long-term research project involving Western Carolina University geology students and faculty, and the state’s Geological Survey and Department of Transportation.