Lacawac Sanctuary is a natural living laboratory for field-based research and education. Comprised of 545 acres along the shore of Lake Wallenpaupack in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Lacawac encompasses protected native terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Lacawac’s field station is comprised of:
- Lake Lacawac, a nearly pristine 52 acre glacial lake (National Natural Landmark)
- The entire Lacawac watershed and drainage (protected)
- Year-round and seasonal analytical biology laboratory
- Partner Ridge Preservation Area
- Wallenpuapack Ledges (National Natural Landmark)
- Heron and Golden Ponds
- Northern boreal bog
- Vernal ponds and streams
- One mile of Lake Wallenpaupack shoreline - largest lake shore in a natural state
- Eight hiking trails
- Native Plants demonstration garden
- Four Experimental Deer Exclosure areas
- Forest regeneration test sites
- Two national database atmospheric test stations
Just as Northeastern Pennsylvania residents and tourists enjoy the forests and lakes of the region, so do many students learning about environmental science and ecology. Lacawac Sanctuary and Field Station, a non-profit biological field station, nature preserve, and environmental education center located on the southwestern shores of Lake Wallenpaupack in the Poconos, has been educating and hosting students of all ages for decades. Lacawac was founded in 1966 with the mission of “Research, Education, and Preservation” and includes a well-protected glacial lake, Lake Lacawac as well as more than 500 acres of forest, hiking trails, and historic buildings. These features make Lacawac an ideal outdoor learning laboratory for educating students from kindergarten through graduate school.
For nearly 50 years, Lacawac has accomplished its mission by offering a diverse set of natural areas, facilities, and programs for K-12 and post-secondary educators and students, area residents, scientific researchers, and visitors to the region. By bringing scientists together with the general public, Lacawac provides an excellent opportunity for unique interactions.
Lake Lacawac is a National Natural Landmark and two locations on the property (natural bog and natural ledges area) are designated as Wild Plant Sanctuary’s by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Lacawac Sanctuary allows public visitors and environmental program attendees to experience unaltered natural areas and to interact with scientists to learn about the natural world and conservation efforts.
Faculty and students from higher education institutions are working on many environmental issues of relevance to the region. Recent research projects at Lacawac have focused on how climate change impacts Pennsylvania lakes, how high deer populations are altering forest communities through their feeding activities, and whether ozone depletion can negatively affect aquatic organisms. Lacawac is also part of the ecologically and economically important Upper Delaware River watershed which delivers drinking water to more than 15 million people.
Lacawac's trails include:
- Lake Lacawac Trail
- Maurice Broun Trail
- Big Lake Trail
- Forest Study Trail
- Partner Ridge Trail
- Ledges Trail
- Great Camp Trail
- Arthur Watres Trail