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.”

Teaching on the Clemson Experimental Forest

Map of Teaching Areas on the Clemson Experimental Forest pdf

Creative Inquiry Research Projects on the Clemson Experimental Forestpdf

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):

  • Department of Biosystems Engineering – BE 322 Small Watershed Hydrology and Sedimentology
  • Department of Biological Sciences – BIOSC 320 Field Botany
  • Department of Environmental and Natural Resources – ENR 302 Natural Resources Measurements
  • Department of Entomology – ENT (BIOSC) 301 Insect Biology and Diversity
  • Department of Forestry and Natural Resources – FOR 205 Dendrology; WFB 412 Wildlife Management
  • Department of Landscape Architecture – LARCH 451 Landscape Architecture Design III
  • Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management – PRTM 270 Introduction to Recreation Resources Management

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.

Contact and Permission for Teaching on the CEF

Service on the Clemson Experimental Forest

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:

  • Boy Scouts of America - Troop 235 and Troop 161
  • Clemson Roots & Shoots
  • Greater Clemson Mountain Bikers Club
  • Keowee Bowmen Archery Club
  • Foothills Group of the Sierra Club
  • Pendleton Area Saddle Club
  • Clemson University Student Chapter of the Wildlife Society
  • Pendleton District Gem and Mineral Society

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).