Image: Class looking at wildlife at the field station

History of the James H. Barrow Biological Field Station

Hiram College’s Field Station first came to be in 1967 when the Rand family sold their 75-acre farm to Paul and Maxine Frohring, who donated the land to the College to promote wildlife research. This original property consisted of 40 acres of beech-maple forest, a stream, and a bog and was known as the Hiram Biological Station. Soon after, Jack Lashkow donated his collection of wild and domestic fowl to the biological station for study. Thirteen species of wild and domestic geese, 18 varieties of mallards, 18 types of chickens, 21 varieties of pigeons, a group of primitive turkeys and a collection of exotic ducks were in residence at the station.

The Field Station continued to grow from 1979 to 2012 with the purchasing and donation of over 458 acres of land from the Rand and Pritchard families, among other acquisitions.  In 2012, Hiram College acquired and restored 152 acres with the collaboration of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, the EPA, the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati and Davey Research Group. The objectives of the restoration were to preserve the wetland habitat stretches of Silver Creek and Eagle Creek for hydrologic and biodiversity benefits, restore a deep channelized part of Eagle Creek and enhance and restore stream and wetland habitats. 

Over the many years, the focus of the Field Station has shifted from animal research to outdoor education and field ecology. The Field Station provides a means for the public to increase their understanding and appreciation of Ohio’s natural history. Experiences gained at the Field Station enhance student research, teaching, and leadership skills. The focus of the Field Station’s mission has become student engagement conservation. 

Timeline of Acquisitions

Since 1967, the James H. Barrow Biological Field Station has grown seven times its original size. Take a look at how the property has grown:

  • April 1967 – 75-acre Rand property
  • October 1979 – 49-acre Rand property
  • December 1985 – 20-acre Pritchard property
  • February 1988 – 105-acre Pritchard property
  • May 2004 – 132-acre Stavenger property
  • January 2012 – 152-acre Eagle Creek property

Naming of the field station

Biology professor, James H. Barrow, established the Hiram Biological Station on the plot of land donated by the Frohring family. Barrow’s goal with the establishment of the Station was to provide an environment for Hiram’s liberal arts traditions to flourish, as well as creating a location for biology majors to expand their knowledge and research skills. Barrow understood the potential the Station held to influence students outside of the sciences as well. “These lands will also provide opportunities for the development of all Hiram College liberal arts students by giving them an opportunity to become aware of our environment and of the ways to use their leisure time with nature,” Barrow wrote in a publication titled The Philosophy of the Hiram College Department of Biology. 

Barrow’s work changed the landscape for biological research at Hiram College and catapulted countless students throughout his time into graduate school or successful careers in the field of biology. Barrow emphasized the work of students and encouraged students to take the lead on research projects at the Field Station. Barrow was also an active contributor to the creation of the Hiram Public Gardens, which were started and maintained by his wife, Jamie Barrow. 

In 1985, the Field Station was renamed the James H. Barrow Field Station in his honor. In later years, the word “biological” would be added to the title to emphasize the research Barrow worked to establish. Today, Hiram College’s 550-acre field station is known as the James H. Barrow Biological Field Station. 

Dr. James Barrow examining marine life with students on a field trip in Maryland
Dr. James Barrow examines marine life with students on a field trip to the U.S. Bureau of Commercial Fisheries in Maryland.

Addition of the wildlife rehabilitation center

In the 2008-2009 academic year, a wildlife rehabilitation center was established on the Field Station’s grounds. Today, the Field Station serves as a rehab center for endangered and hurt animals and is home to over 20 animal ambassadors. The Field Station’s animal ambassadors serve as educational ambassadors for outreach events, children’s camps, and public appearances. Not only that, but the care of these animals also teaches student workers a myriad of skills.  Students learn the correct way to care for these animals, to provide them with the right food, medical care and enrichment.  Each animal has very specific needs, and it’s important for students to learn that. Students learn responsibility, compassion, empathy, and husbandry of each animal at the Field Station. Some of the Field Station’s Animal Ambassadors include Corny the corn snake, Barry the barred owl, Mystery the pigeon, and Skipper the bunny. 

two students working in animal care at the FIeld Station
Two students care for an injured animal at the Field Station’s animal care facility