research

Research

The primary mission of The Center will be conservation and wildlife education, and an integral component of the education efforts will be diverse and robust research programs. The Center will engage state universities and regional colleges and universities to participate in and conduct a range of research projects.

Participants will be recruited to initiate research projects addressing some of the challenges confronted by The Center, as reclaimed mine lands are converted to their highest and best use for wildlife habitat. This research will include methods of habitat conversion on reclaimed mine lands, managing against invasive species, and optimization of habitat for multiple wildlife species. Such research will be of great benefit across the coal fields of Appalachia and the Illinois Basin, as one of the more imposing challenges faced is the cost-effective management of reclaimed mine lands to remove or reduce noxious exotic species.

Another area of research will be vineyards and orchards on reclaimed mine lands. Research will be done on optimal establishment methods, best-suited cultivars, long-term management practices, and economic return.

Elk research will include work on calf survival and dispersal, managing against parasites, feeding habits, human conflict resolution, and bull survival.

Songbird research will be conducted to maximize the abundance and the diversity of bird species at the Center. Areas of focus will be on habitat use, habitat alterations, breeding success and migration.

The Center will serve as a research hub for Bobwhite quail. Bobwhite quail are present on the 12,000-acre property, and other east Kentucky mine lands. No research has ever been done in the region to ascertain the population dynamics or habitat use of quail in the eastern coalfields.

Research to maximize honey production and the survival of honeybee colonies will be conducted. This research on habitat for bees and other pollinators will focus on enhancing the availability of high quality habitat through the management of mine lands, the adjacent forests, and the transition zone between habitat types.

Habitat research will be performed with regard to the development of comprehensive management plans for the cost-effective management of large-scale landscapes for multiple species.

The Center will offer conservation organizations such as the National Wild Turkey Federation, The Quality Deer Management Association, Quail Unlimited, The American Chestnut Foundation, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation the opportunity to conduct habitat restoration demonstrations on site. Such groups will be assigned restoration areas to demonstrate species-specific habit enhancements.

The Center will sponsor research on tourism, ecotourism and hospitality, with the subsequent purpose of improving the marketing, communications and guest services operations at The Center and the region.

The development and expansion of research efforts at The Center will enhance the conservation and wildlife education programs and be consistent with the desire that every activity at The Center present learning opportunities.