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Helen Patton Environmental Studies Center

Helen Patton Research Center


Located near Franklin, NC, the HPEC provides 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. The house provides a facility for small group meetings, retreats, or visiting faculty and student research. For more information or to schedule a visit, contact Beverly Collins (828-227-3663;


Directions to HPEC

Address: 162 Patton Hill Road. From Franklin, go west, toward Murphy, 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.






Student Research

Molly Gooden is investigating how trade-offs in behaviors within socially monogamist Carolina chickadee (Poecile carolinensis) parents affect cooperation between the parents in order to maximize fitness.

Erin Condon is investigating how wildfire affects the abundances and species composition of the small mammal community in a Southern Appalachian forest.

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