We invite scientists to use AS IF Center for education, observation, and long term or short term research. Researchers have begun studying moth diversity and phenology, herpetology, and native bee species at the center. Future research themes may include biological diversity, ecosystem function, biogeochemical cycling, climate and its effects on phenology, disturbance and succession, invasive species, soils, hydrology, stream ecology, geology, site restoration, and other areas of study.
Most of the forest is relatively mesic and is made up of second growth mixed upland cove hardwood forest. Primary tree species are yellow poplar, white oak, American beech, white ash, sugar maple, red maple, cucumber magnolia, sweet birch, and scattered white pine. Understory species include yellow buckeye, black cherry, sourwood, black gum, pagoda dogwood, sassafras, spicebush, smooth hydrangea, witch hazel, mountain winterberry, deciduous azalea, beaked hazelnut, mountain laurel, rosebay rhododendron, muscadine, dutchman’s pipe, ferns, woodland grasses, and a diverse herbaceous layer. Along the more xeric ridges, the forest transitions to mixed upland hardwood forest with pockets of white pine, scarlet oak, chestnut oak, sourwood, hickory, and black gum. Several remnant mica mines expose abundant mica deposits throughout the forest. Meadow habitat and old field sites are also available for study.
The forest includes two headwater streams — Rebels Creek and its tributary, Beech Creek. A small pond on the site is located in a meadow habitat. The community maintains numerous catchment ponds throughout, along roadsides, which provide excellent habitat for small frogs. Second and third-order streams are accessible nearby at the South Toe, North Toe, Toe, and Toe Cane Rivers, and their tributaries.
The center is centrally located for access to National Parks: Mount Mitchell National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Roan Mountain State Park (TN), and Pisgah National Forest. A rare olivine outcrop is just down south of AS IF Center on State Highway 80, exposed veins of marble can be accessed in the nearby town of Bandana, there are several abandoned quartz mines and feldspar mines in the area, and the Grandfather Mountain Window and Linville Falls Fault offer opportunities to study unusual geological phenomena.
To learn about identification guides under development and other science resources, see our science page. On our facilities page, you can find more information about lodging, research facilities and supplies, and permits.