Environmental & Historical Research

Environmental Research is a key component of the work at Radnor Lake State Natural Area. Many groups take advantage of the area to better understand the impacts of wildlife and humans on the environment. Visit the links below for detailed information about partnerships and ongoing research.

Note: All research conducted at Radnor Lake State Natural Area requires permission from park management and a permit through the Division of Natural Areas. More information on that may be obtained by visiting: http://www.tennessee.gov/environment/topic/na-natural-areas-program

Water Quality Study

Friends of Radnor Lake Board Member Lee Boggs receiving a Robin Conover Photograph for appreciation of his water quality efforts at Radnor Lake the past 10 years. The Radnor Lake ranger staff and the Friends of Radnor Lake established the Radnor Lake Watershed Initiative in the fall of 2005. This water-quality study serves the purpose of collecting long-term biological data to more effectively research and protect Radnor Lake. There are 12 water-sampling sites. The data collected from these sites helps the Radnor Lake ranger staff monitor the overall health of the lake and the water that drains into Otter Creek.

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Penn State Ecological Research

Field-research-at-Hall-Farm-Area-on-March-11th-2015-Pix-by-Steve-WardThe Research Collaborative provides a scientific basis for the ecological management of Radnor Lake State Natural Area. The context of the Research Collaborative is long-term ecological research that informs adaptive management of Radnor Lake State Natural Area. Individual projects are focused on particular environmental concerns and land management challenges such as white-tailed deer browsing, beaver cutting of trees, invasive plant species, landslides, rare plant species, and sensitive forest communities.

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Motlow State Community College

Professor Lisa Mayo, Dr. Robert Loeb and Dr. Doug Heffington on March 10th, 2015. Pix by S.Ward

The purpose of research efforts by Motlow State Community College’s Associate Professor Lisa Herring Mayo and her geology students is to locate and identify geological outcrops within the Natural Area in effort to establish the unique geology and its importance to, and influence on, the historical settlement of the area.

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MTSU Geohistorical Archaeology

Beginning in 2002, Middle Tennessee State University began systematic research at Radnor to explore sense of place, historic settlement patterns and the evolution of the cultural landscapes of the natural area. Under the direction of Dr. Doug Heffington with the MTSU Global Studies and Human Geography program, geography, history and archaeology students have conducted over 50+ oral geographies/histories, recorded the geographic placement of numerous historic sites dating to the late 1800s to early 1900s, examined geographic locations of these sites and analyzed surface collected material culture. From this work a strong individual and collective sense of place is emerging from recorded interviews and the field work has yielded an area, though natural today, was once vibrant with 19th and 20th century farmsteads that eventually gave way to a significant industrial complex that supplied water to the steam locomotives of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad and associated railyards in Nashville.

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RESEARCH AND ACADEMIC PARTNERSHIPS