What is the Selman Living Laboratory?
The Selman Living laboratory is a field research and teaching facility located in the rolling hills & plains of Woodward County in northwestern Oklahoma. It is the official field station of the Biology Department at the University of Central Oklahoma. The Selman Living Laboratory provides a wide array of natural environments, including large bat caves for research and teaching. Full living accommodations are available on site. We invite researchers and students from all majors to use this site or contact the UCO 's Department of Biology about research and course opportunities. The Selman Living Laboratory is recognized as a Natural Heritage Site by Oklahoma Biological Survey.
History of the lab
The site part of the historic Selman Ranch, originally homesteaded in the early 1900's. Prior to that, it served as grazing lands leased from Cherokee Native Americans by large cattle companies, including one from England.One reason this field station, the SLL, became established was because of UCO 's long educational involvement with the Selman cattle ranch. Because of her interest in education and conversation, Mrs. Betty Selman wanted the Selman Cave System preserved as an education and research site. In 1998, the SLL was established with a $300,000 grant from the Oklahoma State Department of Tourism, which provided for the purchase of the Selman Cave System. To protect the surrounding watershed and the cave , Mrs. Selman donated 129.5 hectares - about 320 acres - and several caves to UCO. Once deeded over to UCO, this tract of land became the nucleus of the SLL.
University of Central Oklahoma
The SLL operates under the auspices of UCO located in Edmond, Oklahoma. UCO is the oldest (est.1890) university in Oklahoma and is recognized for excellence in teaching, graduate and undergraduate research, and community service. It is a comprehensive, multicultural, metropolitan institution committed to serving over 17,000 traditional and nontraditional students each semester. It is accredited by North Central Association of Colleges and Schools as a bachelor's and master's degree granting institution. The University is increasing its support to the SLL. It is committed to the educational, research, and outreach goals of the SLL. It has added the SLL to the university 's strategic plan and is providing for maintenance of the facilities, the utilities and design concepts.
The UCO Biology department, with about 1,000 majors, offers a B.S. in Biology, Biology Education and Medical Technology and M.S. in Biology. The faculty is exemplary, possessing degrees from institutions of higher learning. The faculty has had affiliations with other field stations/sites that provide the experience to oversee operations of the SLL.
We have received support through the university, the National Science Foundation, and others for two additional metal bunkhouses, a small classroom, a storeroom, two restroom buildings with showers, a storage shed, a trailer (with additional restrooms, an office area, and a small kitchen), a tornado-resistant multipurpose building, and two astronomy domes.
The SLL is located about 16 km SW of Freedom (pop. 264) in rural northwestern Oklahoma and approximately 50 km from the larger towns of Woodward and Alva. The nearest cross-streets are N2110 Rd and E0210 Rd in Freedom, OK 73842. Climatically, this region is characterized by an average annual temperature of 15°C (50°F) and an annual rainfall of 69 cm (27.2 in).
Directions from UCO to the SLL
2. At Hwy. 74 west of Edmond - turn right (North) - you will see a Sonic on the left after you turn,
3. Continue north several miles and at the blinking red light (junction of Hwy. 33) turn left headed toward Kingfisher.
4. Stay on 33 through Kingfisher, through Watonga, to Seiling
5. Pass through Seiling heading to Woodward - exiting the north end of Seiling----and bearing to the left.
6. Continue approx. 22 miles toward Woodward until you come to Hy 50 - Turn right or North - if there is road construction in this area and you have to look carefully to see the turn.
7. Drive 10 miles north until you come to a stop sign.
8. Turn Right and drive into Mooreland.
9. Go to the stop light just past the high school which will be on your right
10. At the stop light Turn Left or North and drive north toward Alabaster Caverns (approx. 20 miles).
11. One (1) mile past Alabaster is a paved road to the west (E21)
12. Turn left on the paved road (only one 1 mile past entrance to Alabaster)
13. Proceed along this road about 6 miles (be very careful, road full of pot holes)
14. You will cross a concrete bridge and go up a hill which bends to south and then back to the west.
15. At the top of the hill, in the distance, you will see a white house on the right and just past that house is one on the left (about ¼ mile) - This is Betty Selman's House.
16. Just past her house turn right on the section road (North)
17. About 250 feet north is the entrance to the Selman Living Lab - white fence, trailer, buildings, domes, etc.