The Seminar Forest is a forty acre tract of land obtained by Penn State Altoona in 2008 and located right across the Juniata Gap entrance to campus. The ENVST Senior Seminar created Seminar Forest in the spring of 2010. The forest, previously known as the Ritchey Property, now has hiking and mountain biking trails, and a restored pond. The land has been geologically assessed, surveyed for its biodiversity, studied and simply enjoyed by students and faculty. A number of other projects have also been created or proposed for the land.
In the fall of 2011, a replica Thoreau cabin was built on the property at the base of the trail head along Beckers Lane. The cabin will house environmental research projects that have been undertaken at the forest, and the forest itself is blossoming into a thriving environmental education center made possible by the vision and efforts of many faculty, staff, and students at Penn State Altoona. Recreational and educational opportunities found at Seminar Forest will hopefully teach lessons about human connections with our home landscapes for our students as well as any local resident who wishes to come and enjoy the land.
Since 2011, the entrance area has been transformed to include cabin beautification and landscaping, native tree plantings and construction of a permanent fire ring accommodating class sizes of up to twenty students. For more information on Seminar Forest projects visit the Sustainability Council Web site.