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Cranberry Lake Biological Station
Information for Enrolled Students

Information for students enrolled for course work at Cranberry Lake Biological Station. Please review this page for information on accommodations, course structure, a packing list and directions. The handbook provides further details.

Registered Student Session

For more information on CLBS including accommodations, course structure, a packing list, and directions please see the Handbook.

Ride Share and Arrival

About two to three weeks prior to the beginning of your course you will receive an email indicating you should sign up for an arrival time at CLBS. We will also aid in coordinating rideshares.


Free NYS Boating Safety Course

All students are encouraged to take a boater safety course. No student is allowed to operate a motorized boat without having completed the course and showing your certificate to staff. Free boater safety courses are available at Boat US.

Free Boater Safety Course


Student Success Workshop

Living at CLBS

  • Living spaces are shared with up to 7 other students in an unheated cabin. You will have a desk and set of drawers, but the limited space means students sometimes work in the classrooms or dining room after hours. Students can also be found journaling from their hammocks in the woods, near the campfire, in Sanderson Lodge (the student rec center), on the swimming dock, or even on a rock streamside.
  • We have 1,000 acres, most of it forested, so if you need a little alone time and feel comfortable, you can use canoes or hike the trails by yourself. For safety we simply ask you to let someone know where you are headed and when you plan to return if you are choosing to embark on a solo endeavor.
  • Gendered restrooms are a short walk through the woods, with individual stalls for toilets and showers.
  • There are forty-two buildings on campus, which include the dining hall, classrooms, the office, student cabins, faculty cabins, and workshops.
  • The Dining Hall is typically open and drinks are available at all hours of the night. Sometimes snacks are available, but we often have them tucked away so they are not stolen by squirrels, chipmunks, and furry friends. We are visitors on their turf, so we encourage students to avoid keeping food in cabins.
  • Generally breakfast is served in the dining hall around 7:15 am, and students pack a bagged lunch of sandwiches at this time (missing breakfast means missing lunch). Students report to classrooms at 8 am and are provided an hour lunch break around noon. Afternoon sessions typically run 1-5 pm, followed by dinner at 5:30 pm. Quiet hours begin at 10 pm.

Academics at CLBS

  • Participation is a substantial part of the course, so hiking, getting wet or muddy, hauling equipment, being outside for 8 or more hours a day, being hot or cold or uncomfortable, and being an active contributing member of groups is expected. Mosquitoes and black fly bites are a common nuisance.
  • Students are taught field journaling techniques and are graded on their field journal entries which are mostly completed outside of the 8 hours of daily class time. These include scientific drawings.
  • The first two weeks are structured classes (8 am-12 noon and 1-5 pm depending on weather and subject), and the group research takes place between the 2nd and 3rd Friday of the course. There is a rest day on the first Sunday.
  • Identification quizzes in the field and in the classroom are common.
  • Typical Due Dates:
    • Field journals End of the 2nd week
    • Students self-select groups and research projects ideas End of the 2nd week
    • Research proposals End of the 2nd week
    • Students conduct research in groups Duration of 3rd week
    • Student presentation files and abstracts Last Thursday
    • Students
  • During the final week, students conduct research and faculty members are available for consultation, but no classes are held. Student groups are expected to develop a field sampling protocols, sign out and deploy equipment, gather data, analyze data using statistical tools, interpret that data, put together a presentation (PowerPoint/Slides) of their project, and present their research project to an audience of about 60 peers and a panel of faculty/guest judges.
  • Students will not know their final grades for the course before they leave the Biological Station.

Questions to ask yourself

  • If I’m feeling overwhelmed due to lack of privacy or space, how might I navigate tricky conversations with cabinmates?
  • How will I discuss and manage any accommodations needs with my instructors given the different and more open environment?
  • How will I manage my time to get journal entries done when I might only have a couple of hours between dinner and sunset?
  • If I need to connect with loved ones, when and how will I do this?
  • If I have any tele-health visits, what do I need to do to schedule these appropriately, and have I arranged a private place for such a visit?
  • What strategies did I use to manage any difficulties?
  • Groups are selected by students, so how might I start conversations with another student I might want to work with? If they already have a group, what is my back up plan?
  • When I am working with a group and my members don’t seem to agree with my ideas, what are my strategies for resolving this?
  • What will I do when I am physically uncomfortable (Examples- cold at night, weather conditions in the field classes, collecting data for my group’s project)?
  • What strategies will I use to manage when I may be physically and mentally tired during group research?
  • What do I need to do to prepare for the final oral presentation? How much time do I need to practice, and what type of help might I need from my group?