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Lacawac Sanctuary and Field Station - Lake Ariel, PA

Dr. Susan S. Kilham Environmental Laboratory and Coulter Visitor Center

Lacawac Sanctuary and Field Station is a nature preserve, biological field station, and environmental education center located in the Pocono Mountains of Northeastern Pennsylvania. Lacawac Sanctuary’s property is 545 acres, includes a pristine glacial lake, Lake Lacawac and its watershed, bogs, forests with hiking trails, and a Great Camp listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Lacawac Sanctuary was originally developed as a summer retreat for William Connell, a three-term Congressman, industrialist, and coal magnate. In 1912, the retreat was purchased by Colonel Louis A. Watres, a prominent Scranton businessman, to acquire a parcel along the Wallenpaupack River. This was part of the area that was flooded in 1926 for Lake Wallenpaupack’s hydroelectric dam construction. The lake is the largest in Eastern Pennsylvania and a major economic driver in the region. Lacawac Sanctuary owns 1 mile of shoreline on Lake Wallenpaupack, which is one of the only undeveloped stretches along the 52-mile perimeter.

Since its inception in 1966, the mission of Lacawac Sanctuary has been to preserve Lake Lacawac, its watershed, the surrounding forest and historic structures; provide a venue for ecological research, scholarly interaction and the training of scientists; provide public education on environmental and conservation issues; and conserve open space in Pennsylvania. For over 40 years, Lacawac has accomplished this mission by offering a diverse set of natural areas, facilities, and programs for K-12 and post-secondary educators and students, area residents, scientific researchers, and summer visitors to the region. By bringing scientists together with the general public, Lacawac provides an excellent opportunity for interaction among these user groups.

Lacawac Consortium

In late 2013, Lacawac formed the Lacawac Environmental Research and Education Consortium to advance scientific understanding of the natural world through research and education. Lacawac maintains a 545-acre forest and glacial lake preserve and a biological field station with laboratories and a lodge in the Pocono Mountain. The Consortium collaborates with its members – prominent universities, K-12 schools and research institutions – in conducting scientific research, creating education programs for K-16 audiences, and offering resources and support for early-career scientists, including graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

School Programs and Education

Lacawac conducts programs for children grades K-12 each year, ranging from school visits with our naturalists to group-specific field trips and after-school enrichment. College-level presentations are also available. All of our environmental education enhances schools’ curriculum and aligns with the Commonwealth’s Academic Standards for Environment and Ecology. Additionally, our offerings support the Pennsylvania STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Initiative.

Public Education

The mission of Lacawac Sanctuary and Field Station is to educate the public about humankind’s influence on natural ecosystems and the inter-relationships with the environment. It does so by offering programs year-round to the general public, teachers and students, and youth and civic groups. Lacawac Sanctuary offers community programs designed to connect people of all ages to the natural world. Lacawac offers seasonal classes related to art, photography, animals, plants, and habitats.


Lacawac Sanctuary, a nature preserve, ecological field research station and public environmental education facility located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania was founded in 1966.

Our Mission:

• Preserve our unique glacial lake, its watershed, surrounding forest and historic buildings

• Provide public education on environmental and conservation issues

• Maintain a venue for ecological research, scholarly interaction and the training of scientists

The most notable feature of Lacawac Sanctuary is Lake Lacawac - a 52 acre glacial lake preserved in almost pristine condition (totally free from development or encroachment). The Lake was declared a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1966.

Lacawac features a natural boreal bog, the Wallenpaupack Ledges Natural Area, Partner Ridge, a native plants garden, demonstration forest/deer exclosure plots, and six public hiking trails.

At the heart of the Sanctuary is the National Historic Registered “Adirondack Great Camp” complex constructed in 1903 as summer residence and hunting lodge.

How to Support

There are many ways to get involved with the Lacawac. From becoming a member or supporter to volunteering as an intern, research assistant, or program volunteer you can join Lacawac and our mission to encourage and cultivate the natural and environmental sciences. You can also participate in our in-depth programs for learners of all ages.

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