The Freeman Center is an operational Texas Hill Country ranch with significant natural areas, facilities, and buildings on site. It is approximately 5,000 acres and is located about a 15 minute drive west of campus. It is available for research conducted by students and faculty of Texas State University.
Facilities and Field Sites
The Biology Department has excellent facilities on campus as well as access to field sites in the surrounding San Marcos area.
Freeman Center (ranch)
The Welsh Property is an approximately 450 acre holding about a 70 minute drive away from campus. It is forested primarly by Loblolly pine and Eastern red cedar. There are two open pasture areas and several impounded drainages that are, for the most part, perennial. The property is available for use in research at teaching activities, which are limited by the guidelines that maintain the property as Houston toad habitat.
Spring Lake is the headwaters (spring source) of the San Marcos River. Historically, the lake and surrounding shoreline were known as Aquarena Springs, a well-known tourist attraction, amusement park, and "resort" within the state for decades. The university purchased the lake and some surrounding property in 1994. Since then the old amusement park has disappeared and now the lake serves as an excellent location for research in aquatic biology. The City of San Marcos owns a more extensive area, known as the Spring Lake Preserve or Natural Area, near the northwest shore of the lake.
This is a small, about 8 acre site about 10 minutes from campus. It is a protected site and a location of Texas Blind Salamanders, near the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment.
Griffith League Ranch
The Griffith League Ranch (GLR) is the last remaining "League Ranch" given by Sam Houston to contributors to the Texan cause during the war for Texas independence. It measures one league wide by one league long, forming an approximately 7600 acre property. The property has significant forested stands, pasture, ponds, and drainages. The property is owned and administered by the Boy Scouts of America. Access is available for research projects and teaching.
This property was conveyed to the Department by the Pollard family through the World Wildlife Fund, and is designed to be used for education, conservation, wildlife management, and research. The site is 80 acres of steep hillside that have not been grazed for more than 75 years.
Experimental Ponds at FAB
This small 3 acre site contains four large outdoor concrete ponds and several enclosed concrete raceways for research and teaching projects. There are additional non-experimental ponds that represent landscape features on the campus and provide educational opportunities as outdoor classrooms. All of these resources are located on the campus adjacent to the Freeman Aquatic Building.