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Green Oaks Biological Field Station

Green OaksKnox College's Green Oaks Biological Field Station is a place of serene beauty and exceptional natural diversity that has become, for many, a deeply valued part of the Knox experience.

Its trails lead through stretches of uncut native forest, past centuries-old oak trees, and along placid lakes and ponds where strip mines once scarred the land. Open fields that once grew corn have given way to one of the Midwest's oldest and most successful prairie restorations. The forests, streams and prairies of Green Oaks are home to rare native plant and animal species.

Located near the Spoon River in eastern Knox County, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) east of the Knox campus, Green Oaks is both a research and recreation area. It encompasses 700 acres (283 hectares) of forest, grassland and aquatic habitat and is the second site in the nation where a tallgrass prairie was restored.

Green Oaks is a site of learning in various forms -- from student Honors projects to day trips to the 10-week interdisciplinary Green Oaks Term -- in disciplines ranging from environmental studies to art to philosophy. Green Oaks has also become a place for community-building gatherings of students and faculty, such as the annual Prairie Burn.

And yet the land is not reserved exclusively for academic use; any member of the Knox community may hike along its well-marked trails, fish in its ponds, or stay overnight in its camping area.

HISTORY Knox gained Green Oaks in 1958 through the estate of Alvah Green, an 1890 Knox graduate and a College trustee who had sympathies toward ecology. A few years before the land was acquired, Knox Professors Paul Shepard and George Ward began the monumental task of restoring the land to its natural prairie habitat. In 1965 this task was taken up by Knox professor Peter Schramm, who set out to finish the restoration of the site. More
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