The Highlands Biological Station North Campus project is in full swing with the boardwalk around Lindenwood Lake being set into place, the Lake has been lowered to allow a crane to pound in the pylons for the pavilion and boardwalk, and rocks are being poured to stabilize the ground for the pavilion area.
The project entails building a teaching pavilion next to Lindenwood Lake (called Ravenel Lake on Google Maps), improving the entrance to HBS from Lower Lake Road, creating a pollinator garden on the slope adjacent to the Lake, and making some upgrades to the nature trail that loops around the Lake.
Pictured below is the newly laid boardwalk around Lindenwood Lake that will intersect with existing pathways throughout HBS’ North Campus.
HBS Project Coordinator Sonya Carpenter said they are taking all precautions possible to protect the environment throughout the construction process, including using a crane to pound in the pylons to avoid bringing heavy machinery into the wetland.
“We’re using a crane (to pound pylons) to be as sensitive as we can to the wetland ecosystem and minimize our impact,” she said. “This is a very delicate ecosystem. We’re also transplanting the sensitive plants under the footprint of the boardwalk as we go.”
The Lake was lowered with the help of a “heavy duty” pump, said Carpenter. Most of the pylons have been installed, but there are a few remaining to be placed in areas of open water to support the pavilion. HBS is installing more pylons than originally planned, now using a total of 81 after receiving a geotechnical report from a third-party consultant.
“They analyze the soil to determine what we need to do,” said Carpenter. “The soil is wet, and you can only go so deep, so we’re going to follow their instructions.”
Carpenter added after all the pylons are placed, the Lake will return to its normal level naturally.
Planks being laid for the boardwalk are Ipe, a wood from the Brazilian Rainforest.
“We can’t use chemically treated wood, so we found a product that has longevity but no harmful chemicals,” said Carpenter. “The Lake is part of the town’s water supply, so we don’t want to release chemicals into our water or hurt animals in the wetland.”
Within the next month, the boardwalk is expected to be completed and construction will begin on the pavilion. In the next two months, work is expected to begin on the entrance off of Lower Lake Road and HBS will begin planting the pollinator garden in May or June. Much of this project is subject to weather conditions so Carpenter said she is hoping for the best.
Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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Below are artist renderings of the planned North Campus Project at the Highlands Biological Station.