IU Southeast Urban Ecology Field Station
at Blackacre State Nature Preserve
Blackacre State Nature Preserve consists of 170 acres in Jefferson County, Kentucky, about 18 miles east of downtown Louisville and 35 minutes’ drive from the campus of Indiana University Southeast in New Albany. The land, which also contains an historic homestead dating from the 1790s, was dedicated in March, 1979 as the first in what has now become a system of 60 state nature preserves and natural areas. Blackacre, which had been their home, was donated by Judge Macauley and Mrs. Emilie Strong Smith as a nature preserve and for interpretive nature education.
Since becoming a state nature preserve, Blackacre has been a site for environmental education by the Jefferson County Public Schools. The Blackacre Conservancy, a non-profit organization, is charged with maintaining the historic structures on the preserve and conducting non-JCPS educational programming. It owns an additional 100 acres adjacent to the state’s property.
Because it is bounded by subdivisions on the east, south and west and by an industrial park on the north, Blackacre can be considered an urban nature preserve. As such, it faces several challenges to its environmental integrity. As a green space in the midst of urbanization, it also provides many benefits to its neighbors. What is Urban Ecology?
Since 2000, several biology classes from IU Southeast have taken field trips to Blackacre and IU Southeast faculty and students have been conducting research on the preserve since 2009. In 2010, the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission recognized the IU Southeast research by authorizing the university to use Blackacre as an Urban Ecology Field Station. The designation does not involve a physical structure, simply the use of the site for a variety of both short-term and long-term undergraduate research projects which will aid in the conservation and management of Blackacre and other urban nature preserves.
All IU Southeast field research is carried out in accordance with permit #BLAC 030410 from the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission.
IU Southeast faculty and students interested in conducting research can contact the School of Natural Sciences secretary.