Fermilab History and Archives Project

Natural History

Fermilab BisonThe Nature of Fermilab

As director of the National Accelerator Laboratory in 1967, Robert R. Wilson determined that this facility would provide certain leadership for scientific contributions to society beyond the high energy physics mission of the physicists. The nature of Fermilab, and its 6,800-acre site, has included inquiry into all fields of science. The Lab is a natural laboratory setting for studying use of vast open space including grasslands and woodlands and their wildlife populations. Understanding our environment has been essential to Fermilab operation for thirty years. Fermilab management and the Department of Energy encourage healthy and safe use of our site by our employees and visitors.

Historical research into the nature of Fermilab since 1968 includes: archaeology, anthropology, botanical studies of wildflowers and native vegetation, chemistry, ecology, geology, ornithology, prairie restoration and interpretive trail, and wildlife and their habitats. Reports on this work are available in the Archives.

Annual celebrations of Arbor Day have been held since 1969.

Native American names preserved

"NAL appeal: Save our trees, cut vandalism" - a Village Crier article published in June, 1969 after some of NAL's walnut trees were cut down without need or authorization