Helen Patton Environmental Studies Center


Located near Franklin, NC, the HPEC provides field and laboratory resources for education related to outdoor biology and natural resource management. Students and faculty from Western Carolina have access to managed gardens around the house and the natural slope and grassy floodplain that lead down to Dobson Creek for classes, research, and collaboration with local school science faculty and students. Basement rooms in the Helen Patton house provide basic laboratory facilities, while the upstairs rooms, deck, and gardens are ideal for Western Carolina and local community small group meetings or retreats.

Interested in finding out more about research and outdoor educational opportunities, learning about ongoing activities, or scheduling a meeting or class at the HPEC? Click on the links to the right or contact us for more information.

Directions to HPEC

In Franklin, go west, toward Muphy, on Hwy 64. Turn left on Mashburn White Rd. Turn left on Patton Rd. Turn right on Patton Hill Rd. Go uphill and bear to right.

Contact us: Beverly Collins (Director) 828-227-3663 collinsb@email.wcu.edu
Jason Jarvis (Caretaker) 336-909-5008 JasonDJarvis@gmail.com

Current Research

Graduate student Carol Petricevic has created a common garden at HPEC as part of her research into the roles of local adaptation and phenotypic plasticity in spread of the exotic invasive plant, garlic mustard. Garlic mustard is spreading southward and into the local area. Plants are being grown from seeds taken from populations from New York south to Georgia. Carol hopes to determine if the populations differ in their response to temperature and growing season length. Differences suggest local adaptation, while similar responses among populations suggest phenotypic plasticity contributes to the spread of garlic mustard.

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