MURRAY, KY. — For more than 50 years, Murray State University has enjoyed a mutually beneficial partnership with nearby Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area and the U.S. Forest Service within the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

That relationship was recently extended through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between these entities that acknowledges the benefits that each provide to the region.

“It’s essential that our students and faculty are provided with plentiful opportunities for impactful learning and scholarly research,” said Murray State Interim President Bob Jackson. “Murray State’s proximity to Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area aligns perfectly with our mission of fostering an environment of academic excellence. Academic disciplines and specialties — including biology, archeology, occupational safety and health, watershed science and many others — directly benefit from this incredible resource we have in our region. Further, the sheer amount of recreational and educational opportunities at Land Between the Lakes are deeply valued and utilized by many members of our campus community.”

“There are several lines of research and teaching that routinely utilize the resources of Land Between the Lakes,” said Dr. Michael Flinn, interim chair and associate professor in the biological sciences department. “Our students have tracked rattlesnakes, conducted owl counts, estimated deer densities and conducted bat surveys. Land Between the Lakes has an amazing set of resources and the close proximity to campus, along with the synergistic relationships we have built, help to strengthen Murray State University and many programs.”

Flinn also credits the nearby Hancock Biological Station as a critical resource for conducting research on Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley, including hands-on student learning opportunities in ecology, field botany, conservation biology, wildlife and fisheries.

“The academic disciplines at Murray State University complement our commitment to sustainable environmental education at Land Between the Lakes,” said Forest Supervisor Tina Tilley. “Our shared vision advances scientific understanding and supports the learning environment in our local communities. Murray State students and faculty are a critical element to our environmental stewardship and recreation opportunities. This MOU will ensure we continue our relationship and partner on new projects.”

As part of the MOU, both parties have agreed to work to continue existing relationships while developing new partnership opportunities to advance the region economically and educationally.

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