TRU Science

Wells Gray Education and Research Centre

Since 1994, Thompson Rivers University has owned and operated the Wells Gray Education and Research centre, located 25 km north of Clearwater, BC, on the Wells Gray Park Road.

The facility consists of the land and buildings associated with the former Upper Clearwater School, and the adjacent five-hectare lot of land donated by Trevor Goward and Helen Knight. Bordering the edge of the property lies 500 hectares of crown land officially designated for educational and research purposes.

Trails lead from the centre, through crown land, to the 550,000-hectare Wells Gray Provincial Park.

Wells Gray and vicinity are an ecologist's and naturalist's paradise. A geological past which includes volcanoes and glaciers as well as a recent history of fires and windstorms have created a mosaic of habitats supporting diverse ecological communities.

The centre has developed a network of survey trails and sampling sites for teaching the classification of ecosystems and the habitat requirements of wildlife. From old growth forests to pioneer communities, it's all within a few minutes of the centre's doorstep.

Annually, close to 1,200 user-days are logged at the centre, much of them by TRU's own faculty and students. For instance, in early summer students and instructors are in residence at the centre to participate in the course Field Methods in Terrestrial Ecology. Throughout the fall and winter semesters, the centre is also used by botany, forest ecology, and wildlife biology courses for weekend field trips.

Numerous researchers from TRU and other universities in the western provinces have also made use of the facilities to study the diverse pristine habitats nearby.

The Friends of Wells Gray Park have been instrumental in the development of the centre and use it for their weekend natural history courses throughout the summer.