TMU Biology Field Station Receives Powerful Communities Nature Grant from Duke Energy



The Duke Energy Foundation named the Thomas More University Biological Research Station as one of 14 organizations in northern Kentucky and southern Ohio to receive a Powerful Communities Nature grant.

Located in California, the Biology Field Station is the only such facility on the 981 mile stretch of the Ohio River. The grant to will be used to continue the biological and water quality research of the staton that monitors potential threats to the local watershed including, but not limited to pollution, algae blooms and habitat destruction. Duke Energy has an ongoing relationship with the field station that spans 50 years of financial support.

The field biology station was established in 1967 when the old lock and dam were leased to the University by the federal government. Current facilities include state-of-the-art labs and classrooms in the renovated lock, a separate STEM awareness center, outdoor classroom, educational trails, and a LEED certified lodge with overnight accommodation.

Thomas More President Joe Chillo, LP.D., presents the Saints Salute Award to representatives of Duke Energy (right to left) Amy Spiller, State President of Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky, Rhonda Whitaker Hurtt, Vice President of community relations and economic development for Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky; and Cara Brooks, community relations manager for Duke Energy Kentucky. On the far left is Vice President for Institutional Advancement Kevin Reynolds, Ed.D. (Photo by TMU)

Professors and students conduct ongoing research on the river and its tributaries, which helps to monitor and protect the ecosystem and ensure the safety of those who use the river’s resources. This research not only advances scientific knowledge, but also improves the quality of life in the region.

“For more than 50 years, Duke Energy has partnered with us to advance our understanding of the natural world, train students in STEM fields, and improve the quality of life in our region through education, protection of the natural world, ‘environment and ecological research, “said the director. from the Biology Field Station and Thomas More Professor Chris Lorentz, Ph.D. “This grant allows us to maintain our long-term studies on the Ohio River, which are essential for evaluating, monitoring and tracking changes in the quality of the water and environmental health. “

Thomas More honored Duke Energy for supporting the University with a Saints Salute, a special recognition from the University’s community partners, during the November 30 home football game against Cumberland University at Republic Bank Field / Griffin Plaza. The salute was presented at halftime of the game to Amy Spiller, President of the State of Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky, by University President Joseph L. Chillo, LP.D.

Other Duke Energy representatives in attendance included Rhonda Whitaker Hurtt, Vice President of Community Relations and Economic Development for Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky, Cara Brooks, Community Relations Manager for Duke Energy Kentucky, and Kim Vogelsang, MK Stakeholder Engagement Manager .

“With this recent grant, we will be able to continue our long-term studies of the water quality of the Ohio River and neighboring tributaries, while developing our students to become the next generation of biologists, environmentalists and environmental scientists, ”says Lorentz. “The Foundation’s support is essential to our mission of education, research and conservation. “

For more information on the field biology station, visit

From Thomas More University

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