Download Commencement 2024 pictures here.


Ayers Field Station

The 140-acre John and Martha Ayers Science Field Station is 3.8 miles north of GU's campus. This unique learning environment facilitates classes in botany, ecology, and environmental science.

Student researchers, under the direction of the science department faculty, conduct research at the station as part of GU’s Summer Research Experience and throughout the year.


Field Station features

  • The White Environmental Education Center includes a reception area for visitors, a classroom, and labs on two levels.
  • lake features an island where gatherings take place around a fire pit. Prime bird-watching area via a bridge repurposed from the catwalk that once connected Hogue and Marston Halls on campus.
  • Extensive collections include rocks and minerals, and bird and mammal skins.
  • The Leon Winslow Observatory in the field station facilitates astronomy classes. The three-part observatory is a facility that promotes the direct observation of stars and galaxies. Long tables external to the building provide a platform for smaller, computer-controlled telescopes that can be set, aligned, and programmed to locate virtually any position in the sky. The other two parts of the observatory are located in a building that has a split roof so that the upper portion may be retracted to expose two larger telescopes to the sky. Under the fixed roof is a classroom.

Funding for this project came from the Catalyst Fund and Ayers Endowment Fund. The design and a major portion of the construction work on this building were provided by the Mathematics and Natural Science Division members. This facility is used extensively by the Physics Department as an astronomy laboratory facility for general education astronomy courses. It is also available to the area Astronomy Club and has been used by the Boy Scouts in completing their Astronomy badge. The building houses the Physics Department’s extensive rock and mineral collection.



The Ayers Field Station honors longtime GU biology department chair, the late Professor John Ayers, and his wife Marty.

For many years, the Ayers’ dedication to experiential field education resulted in guided tours for students throughout the midwestern and western United States and the eventual construction of a field station in Colorado. Proceeds from the 1998 sale of this station helped fund today’s facility that serves many more students nearer to campus. It represents the work of many hands and hearts.

  • William and Sharon Ahern made GU’s purchase of the land possible.
  • Over 500 volunteers provided 535 days of labor.
  • The community of builders included students, alumni, staff, current and retired faculty, members of the Greenville Free Methodist Church, and members of the greater Greenville community.

Environmental education for all

More than 1,000 public and homeschool students have visited The Ayers Field Station, often guided by university students enrolled in science education and environmental science and stewardship classes.

At present, the Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences continues to work on the development of the Field Station into an integral part of the Environmental Biology major as well as a facility to be used more widely within the College and the broader community.

If you are interested in reserving the space, please contact Emily Hess.

Contact Emily Hess

Ready for your next steps?