The station is a part of the Texas Tech University Center at Junction, a dedicated research and educational facility on the banks of the South Llano River.
The Universities Council on Water Resources (UCOWR) has given the Llano River Field Station the UCOWR Education and Public Service Award for 2015.
The Llano River Field Station (LRFS) is the strategic arm of the Texas Tech University Center at Junction, providing academic, research and service opportunities in the Texas Hill Country and Edwards Plateau. Researchers collaborate on studying and solving the issues of the region and beyond, including watershed, range science and environmental education and public engagement.
Tom Arsuffi, a professor and director of the LRFS, credited the collaboration of the staff, which includes the Texas Tech University Center at Junction director of operations Robert Stubblefield and assistant director Karen Lopez, with the station's success in providing a multitude of quality scholarly and educational opportunities.
“One of our mantras is, ‘it takes a village,'” Arsuffi said. “This award is not just for the Llano River Field Station, it is for our entire community of agencies, K-12 schools, Texas Tech University colleges, departments and many others with which we work and partner. It validates that we are making a difference in water, natural resources and environmental education.”
The award was during the annual conference presented by UCOWR, the National Institutes for Water Resources (NIWR) and the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Sciences, Inc. (CUAHSI), in Henderson, Nevada. The award recognizes individuals, groups or institutions that have contributed to increasing the public awareness of water resources development, use and management in the natural, biological and social sciences.
As the largest inland field station in Texas, it is bisected by the headwaters of the South Llano River and located in a vast (25-plus counties) and biologically diverse area of the state, allowing undergraduate and graduate students from several universities to conduct research on the local watershed and riverbank habitats. Research is conducted throughout the region while courses from several Texas Tech departments and colleges are offered during the spring, intersession and summer semesters.
Located in the TTU Center at Junction's Lantana Lab and Jupiter House on the banks of the South Llano River, the station allows undergraduate and graduate students from several universities to conduct research on the local watershed and riverbank habitats. Research is conducted at the Walter Buck Wildlife Management Center while courses from the biology department are offered during the spring, intersession and summer semesters.
The TTU Center at Junction provides classrooms, laboratories and living and dining facilities for both undergraduate and graduate students who are conducting research or taking classes at the facility.
“Texas Tech has a robust presence around the state, including our site in Junction,” Texas Tech President M. Duane Nellis said. “Dr. Arsuffi's research of water issues and management has not only been beneficial to the education of our students, but also to the surrounding area in the Hill Country. His work directly impacts the environment and provides positive solutions to a variety of issues facing the area.”
Among the current projects conducted and under development at the LRFS is the Upper Llano Watershed Protection Plan, the Texas Water Symposium, Discovery Point Trail and Outdoor School. The station's K-12 Outdoor School is recognized as a Texas Exemplar Program and has had remarkable quantitative success and impacts demonstrated by student performance on statewide standardized tests, national awards and publications. Since its inception, the Outdoor School has provided professional development and education in science and nature to more than 20,000 students and parents as well as teachers in more than 65 Texas school districts.
LRFS is a partner with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Guadalupe Bass Restoration Project, a watershed approach aimed at understanding and protecting the state fish of Texas.