Muller Field Station
By Alli Esposito, Assistant Director at Muller Field Station, Finger Lakes Community College
Finger Lakes Community College’s Muller Field Station (MFS) is located on a 48-acre property in Honeoye, NY, at the south end of Honeoye Lake. It sits upon and is surrounded by the traditional lands and waters of the Seneca Nation, Onödowáʼga:, "Great Hill People"; the original stewards of this valley. The field station is adjacent to the Department of Environmental Conservation's Honeoye Lake Wildlife Management Area as well as lands that are managed and protected by organizations such as the Finger Lakes Land Trust and The Nature Conservancy.
The Mullers: Emil and Florence Muller purchased what is now known as the Muller Field Station in 1967 and ultimately owned a total of 2,500 acres in the area including more than two miles of the Honeoye Inlet. The Muller’s envisioned preserving this unique natural habitat, rich in biodiversity, for generations to come. After Emil's death, Florence continued to work to leverage this land as an asset for education and community enrichment. In 1999 she donated 48 acres along with the Swiss-style chalet which is now the Muller Field Station. Florence passed away in 2016; however, both The Emil Muller Foundation and Florence Muller Foundation continue to provide grant funding to support ongoing projects, programming, and upgrades.
Education & Outreach: Muller Field Station serves as a place that offers engaging and inspiring outdoor learning experiences for K-12 schools (including homeschool groups, clubs, and other organizations), FLCC conservation college students, and community members. At MFS people are encouraged to explore and observe their surroundings, experience wildlife and environmental processes in context, engage in critical thinking, and leave with a deeper appreciation and connection to the land and water.
MFS offers a wide variety of community programs year-round. One of the field station’s most popular offerings are the community channel paddles that run throughout the spring, summer, and fall months. Participants are welcome to use MFS canoes, kayaks, and life jackets at no charge, or are welcome to bring their own. Paddles through the swamp are both educational and peaceful and are led by passionate and knowledgeable MFS conservation educators. These paddles are a great way to learn about the flora and fauna of the swamp. Another popular year-round offering is the monthly speaker series, “A Talk on the Wild Side”. This is an educational series that seeks to connect the local community to diverse and exciting aspects of nature and culture. Topics include invasive species management, ornithology, indigenous culture, stewardship and conservation, herpetology, and wildlife management, just to name a few.
Camera Traps at Muller Field Station: Camera traps, also known as trail cameras, are a major part of the K-12 program and FLCC student research that takes place at the field station. Camera traps are an excellent, passive, and exciting way to monitor the wildlife that is living in and around the silver maple-ash swamp. There are approximately 12 long term cameras set out across the property in varying habitats and over the years there have been some incredible captures. These cameras take wonderful photos and videos of the animals traversing the grounds and offer a glimpse into their daily routines and behaviors.
Student Internship Program: S.W.A.M.P.: The FLCC Muller Field Station Field Studies Internship program, newly coined as S.W.A.M.P. (Science With A Mindful Purpose), encourages students to be the ‘eyes and ears’ of the surrounding landscape– and document it! S.W.A.M.P. is fully funded by the Florence M. Muller Foundation, and provides selected students an opportunity to gain tangible, hands-on experience through field sampling techniques, observation, data collection, and more. Internships this semester include biomonitoring and native seed collection, permaculture, invasive species monitoring at the Honeoye Lake Inlet, Taylor Marsh vegetation mapping, forestry, K-12 conservation education, long-term trail camera studies, and animal enrichment at Finger Lakes Wildlife Center. So far, 230 service hours have been completed to date!
Visit us at Muller: Haven’t been to the field station? Check out the grounds, facilities, and engage in fun outdoor activities during the MFS Annual Open House event! This is a family friendly event that will take place in May. A date is yet to be determined.
To stay informed about the various offerings at Muller Field Station, it is encouraged that you like their Facebook page “FLCC Muller Field Station” as well as subscribe to their monthly newsletter. To subscribe, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find entertaining and educational videos on Muller Field Station’s YouTube channel.