The Clemson Experimental Forest’s (CEF) broad expanse, diverse landscape, varied multiple uses (ranging from forest management, recreation, and historical preservation), and close proximity to Clemson University allows the forest to perform as an outdoor laboratory for many disciplines within Clemson University. It also provides an opportunity for volunteer service to be completed which fosters community involvement and the development of a land ethic.
The establishment of Clemson University and the management of the CEF revolve around a mandate established by the Morrill Act (1862; amended in 1890 to include southern states) which established land grant colleges across the country and provided educational opportunities to any U. S. citizen. The central tenet of the Act states:
“…by each State which may take and claim the benefits of this act, to the endowment, support, and maintenance of at least one college where the leading object shall be, without excluding other scientific and classical studies, & including military tactics, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture & the mechanical arts, as the legislature of the states may respectively prescribe, in order to promote the liberal & practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits & professions in life.”
At this time, approximately 37 classes utilize the CEF in some facet to compliment the traditional classroom setting. Examples of classes that use the CEF include (for a complete list, click here):
Until 1955, Clemson University was an all-male military school. The Clemson University Army ROTC continues the military tradition by using the south Forest regularly to perform dismounted tactical maneuvers and orienteering training to better prepare their cadets for military service and involvement.
Many local groups, clubs, and non-profit organizations visit the CEF to either enjoy the miles of trails and natural beauty of the Forest or to perform volunteer services which include, but are not limited to, trail maintenance, interpretative sign construction and installment, tree planting, educational hikes, or trash pick-up. Below is a list of groups who presently provide a valuable service to the maintenance of the CEF:
If your organization is interested in providing service work for the Clemson Experimental Forest, please contact Knight Cox, Forest Manager (266 B Lehotsky Hall, 864-656-4833).