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Activities that require wet chemistry analysis are occasionally conducted at the Bioresource Laboratory, which is located at the university’s Swine Research Center on the edge of the Auburn campus. This facility is equipped to process, store and conduct analysis of water and waste water samples. This space is adequate for teaching basic water and wastewater analysis techniques.
Caterpillar Forest Products Training Center
Biosystems engineering and forest engineering students in BSEN 3210, BSEN 4250, BSEN 3260, BSEN 4310, BSEN 5220, FOEN 4220, and FOEN 5710 have used the Caterpillar Forest Product Training Center. This unique facility, which is operated by Caterpillar to test and demonstrate its line of forest products equipment, is located a few miles north of Auburn on university-owned property. The Center generally maintains an inventory of the full line of Caterpillar forest products equipment and a classroom for conducting seminars and other educational activities. Caterpillar established the Center through a partnership with Auburn University. Caterpillar staff are very open to allowing students and faculty to use their facility. Several laboratory exercises in the courses listed previously have been conducted at the Center. This facility provides a great advantage for the BSEN program to demonstrate the latest technology for off-highway vehicles to students. Operations at the Center have been temporarily suspended due to the economic downturn in the forest products industry; however, their staff indicate that operations may begin in late 2010 or 2011.
Auburn University Kreher Forest Ecology Preserve
Students in BSEN 5220 use a GPS field laboratory established at the Louise Kreher Forest Ecology Preserve. The Preserve, which is located approximately 6 miles north of the campus, contains approximately 120 acres of forestland. The GPS field laboratory was established by Biosystems Engineering faculty in 1999 for use in the geospatial technology course laboratories. Ten benchmarks were installed and located in various terrain and forest canopy conditions using high-accuracy, carrier-phase GPS. Students use the benchmarks for several laboratory exercises in BSEN 5220. This field laboratory is very useful to students and provides an excellent learning environment for geospatial and environment/natural resource topics.
National Soil Dynamics Laboratory
The USDA ARS National Soil Dynamics Laboratory (NSDL) is located on the campus of Auburn University. This world-renowned facility contains soil bins and instrumented vehicles for testing soil-tire interaction and tillage tool performance. Several of their research engineers are listed as affiliate faculty in the Biosystems Engineering Department, and they occasionally deliver guest lectures and assist with laboratory exercises conducted on traction and tillage in BSEN 3210. This is an excellent resource for BSEN students.
USDA Forest Service GW Andrews Forest Science Laboratory
The USDA Forest Service has an Engineering Research Unit housed on the Auburn Campus. This unit, which has four Ph.D. level engineers and scientists and 2 support engineers, conducts research on engineering aspects of forest operations. Two of the researchers are listed as affiliate faculty in the Biosystems Engineering Department. The laboratory contains a unique thrown object testing facility for improving forest machine operator protective structures. The lab also contains an extensive forest engineering library and well-equipped soil and water testing facilities. Beginning in 2009, the Biosystems Engineering Department has been leasing space for a typical wet chemistry laboratory and for a high bay space to processing biomass feedstocks. Students in BSEN 3210, BSEN 4240/4260, BSEN 4310, FOEN 5230, and FOEN 5710 have used the facility for laboratory exercises. Many of the features of this lab are unique in the US or world; therefore, this is an excellent resource for Biosystems Engineering students.
Solon Dixon Forestry Education Center
Students in the Forest Engineering curriculum attend a summer practicum that is held at the Solon Dixon Forestry Education Center near Andalusia, Alabama. The 5,000 acre school forest has dormitories, classrooms, cafeteria, recreational facilities, and faculty living quarters. The Center has excellent facilities for teaching traditional optical surveying as well as GPS-based mapping and surveying. Students in FOEN 3000 and FOEN 3040 use the Center. This facility provides an excellent learning environment for forestry and forest engineering students and provides excellent multidisciplinary opportunities for BSEN students.