The mission of the Old-Growth Bottomland Forest Research and Education Center (OGBFREC) is to advance the scientific understanding, appreciation, and stewardship of natural and cultural resource dimensions of riverine and forested landscapes across the Southeastern United States. The primary intended audience includes National Park Service (NPS) staff (with a focus on superintendents, resource management, and interpretation) at units within the Southeast Region (SER).
Background & Objectives
Funded through the NPS Natural Resource Challenge in 2001, the OGBFREC is one of 19 Research Learning Centers (RLCs) in a network that currently supports over 160 park units. Although the work of RLCs has historically focused on natural resource science and stewardship, they also make significant contributions to interpretation and education, cultural and historic resource stewardship, youth engagement, community outreach, and other functional groups of the NPS.
RLC Network Objectives
- Facilitate the use of parks for scientific inquiry
- Support science-informed decision making
- Communicate the relevance of and provide access to knowledge gained through scientific research
- Integrate current scientific research into educational and outreach programs
- Promote science literacy and resource stewardship
As a member of the National RLC Network, OGBFREC partner parks benefit from new ideas, expertise, and pooled resources; more parks get critical scientific information needed for resource stewardship; research activities that address climate change and other issues of national interest are coordinated across large scales; citizen science, internships, and other projects that engage the public are implemented consistently across many parks; and the NPS increases its relevance to demographically diverse groups across the country.
OGBFREC Strategic Plan
The OGBFREC was established in 2001 at Congaree National Park (CONG) to facilitate work across traditional disciplinary and organizational boundaries. OGBFREC work connects scientific research, resource management, education, and visitor experience in new and creative ways. The OGBFREC was fully staffed in 2006, and to date has focused primarily on work at CONG. During this time, the OGBFREC cultivated significant expertise in developing partnerships, facilitating research, and providing educational opportunities focused on:
- Floodplain system science
- Standards-based K12 education
- Cultural resources
- Forest ecology
- Climate change
- Citizen science
- Science communication
- Stewardship strategies