The mission of the Keck Lab is to provide instructional and research support for environmental programs on the William & Mary campus and at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. For both faculty and students, the 5,500-square-foot facility is an academic venue for hands-on investigation of issues within the increasingly complex and interdisciplinary world of environmental studies.
The Keck Lab is located on the shore of Lake Matoaka within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and the surrounding College Woods is the largest remaining, contiguous stand of second growth forest in the city of Williamsburg. Student and faculty researchers thus have the opportunity to study a wide array of environments right on their doorstep, including pristine forests and streams, freshwater lakes and tidal wetlands. With ongoing development in the surrounding region, the impacts of human alteration of landscapes also can be measured directly in ecologic, economic and social contexts.
Lake Matoaka is one of over 3,500 impoundments in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and small impoundments probably number in the millions nationwide. To this end, the lake and surrounding watershed are model systems for multidisciplinary examination of environmental interconnections from local to global scales. Further, W&M is one of only a few universities in the nation with access to diverse environmental settings so close to its campus. The Keck Lab is poised to exploit the unique opportunity to fully integrate environmental research and learning at W&M.
The Keck Lab houses a 24-seat teaching lab, a mud room for processing field-collected samples, a dry lab equipped with chemical hoods for analytical work, a walk-in cold room for sample storage, a GIS computer room for student and faculty use, a seminar/videoconference room and administrative offices. Lecture, laboratory and seminar courses across academic disciplines are taught in the Keck Lab. Currently the lab provides support for both faculty and student research projects in environmental studies. As part of its mission, the Keck Lab promotes development of environmental literacy across the curriculum. Taken along with proposed environmental initiatives on campus and outreach to the surrounding community, the Keck Lab endeavors to be a focal point of environmental instruction and research in the region.