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Luminant Supports the Next Generation of Forest Scientists

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Luminant Supports the Next Generation of Forest Scientists

Luminant and its employees have a legacy of supporting community needs, including educational initiatives to develop and inspire future forest scientists and environmental leaders. Through this commitment, over 50 students from Stephen F. Austin State University’s Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture increased their understanding of mining, reclamation, and post-mine land management by visiting Luminant’s reclaimed mine land in Rusk County this summer as part of their annual six-week Forestry Field Station curriculum.

Hosted this year at Oak Hill Mine by Jeff Lamb, Luminant environmental specialist and a 2012 graduate of SFA, the “Mine Reclamation” segment of SFA’s Forestry Field Station’s “Field Silviculture Week” has served as an ideal learning resource for students over the past 25 years. The Oak Hill Mine visit is considered to be the highlight of students’ field station experience, according to Sid Stroud, Luminant director of environmental sciences.

“The reclaimed land at Oak Hill Mine presents students with a wide range of landscapes and conditions that require technical and practical field expertise, including forestry, geology, soils, hydrology, wildlife, and agronomy,” Stroud said. “All of these unique study areas strongly align with the university’s earth and life sciences curriculum.”

“Our programs with Luminant are some of the best examples of experiential learning,” said Dr. Hans Williams, Dean of SFA’s Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture. “During the past 25 years, more than 1,000 SFA Forestry students have visited Luminant’s Martin Lake and Oak Hill mines during SFA Forestry Field Station sessions, where company environmental personnel provide students with a comprehensive overview of conservation practices. When our students see the mining process firsthand, they’re developing an appreciation of how scientifically-based reclamation and reforestation practices can enhance the landscape.”

After lignite mining ceased in 2016, Oak Hill Mine is now in its final reclamation phase. To date, approximately 15,000 acres have been reclaimed, including nearly 900 acres of pastureland, and over 14,000 acres of commercial forestland through the planting of nearly 6.5 million trees.
Oak Hill Mine’s role in SFA’s Forestry Field Station is an extension of Luminant’s longstanding and unique Environmental Research Program, which provides graduate students with the opportunity to conduct independent research on soils, groundwater, wildlife, vegetation, fisheries, and other topics critical for successful land reclamation.

“As a graduate of SFA’s forestry program myself, I’m particularly proud of our partnership with the university,” Stroud said. “In addition to developing reclamation best practices, our company’s Environmental Research Program and other associated collaborations with the university has helped boost the workforce with graduates who are true leaders in their field of science.”
Over the years, Luminant’s environmental research initiatives and partnerships have led to numerous recognitions and awards.

In 2017, Luminant was recognized by the SFA Board of Regents for the company’s advancement of environmental education through research, teacher workshops, and student internships, among other programs. Results from the Environmental Research Program have also helped Luminant create innovative reclamation practices, which have been recognized with over 90 awards.

Learn more about the Environmental Research Program’s history, research success, and long-term benefits.

Through Luminant’s longstanding commitment to support education and research initiatives, over 50 Stephen F. Austin State University students visited Oak Hill Mine’s reclaimed land in Rusk County this summer as part of their Forestry Field Station curriculum.


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