Aspen environmentalistlaunches field laboratory |

Aspen environmentalistlaunches field laboratory

Aspen Times writer

An Aspenite with an impressive history of heading projects designed to study and protect the environment is launching what could be his greatest effort.Bob Lewis has created the Aspen Field Biology Laboratory, a place where scientists can monitor changes in the environment and study some of the bigger ecological issues of the day.Lewis is concerned that many of the diverse species living in our back yard, the northern half of the Elk Mountains in Pitkin County, could be endangered. He noted that some trout have whirling disease, some deer have wasting disease, many englemann spruce are threatened by a bark beetle infestation and some aspen groves suffer from bark fungus.In addition, roadsides and meadows have been invaded by weeds, and water resources are taxed, according to Lewis.His theory with a variety of environmentally oriented projects is that knowledge gained from studying issues leads to concern and, ultimately, a desire to act constructively on solutions.To study some of the top ecological issues, Lewis wanted to construct the field research center adjacent to his home near the Northstar Nature Preserve, east of Aspen. He recently acquired approvals from Pitkin County for the facility where visiting scientists will temporarily live and study. An official groundbreaking ceremony and fund-raising effort were launched Friday, Sept. 3.The Aspen Field Biology Laboratory has been established as a nonprofit 501(c)3.Lewis’ numerous prior environmental accomplishments include creation of the Independence Pass Foundation, which is dedicated to revegetating the road-cut scars on the pass, and the founding of the Wildwood School.To learn more about the Aspen Field Biology Laboratory or to make a donation contact Lewis at 925-2832.

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