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A $1 million donation to Carroll University will go toward a new environmental center and research laboratory building at an off-campus site in the town of Genesee.

The Waukesha university announced on Feb. 4 that Prairie Springs: The Paul Fleckenstein Trust gave the large monetary gift to support environmental education and research.

"We are extremely grateful to (the Paul Fleckenstein trust) for their thoughtful generosity, and we are delighted they are part of the Carroll family," said Doug Hastad, president of Carroll University. "This gift will be used for the construction of the research laboratory and to create an endowment that will support learning opportunities for generations of students from Carroll and the greater community."

Large research center plans

The building will be located on a property that is adjacent to the university's 60-plus acre Greene Field Station, roughly in an area south of County Road D and east of Highway 83 in the town of Genesee. The university purchased the property in 2012.

According to the university, the gift will help transform an existing outbuilding into the Paul Fleckenstein Research Laboratory, a research facility that will include classroom space, two research laboratories and a specimen-processing laboratory.

The property also includes a recently renovated guest house/meeting facility.

The university expects the facility to serve more than just Carroll students. The university said in a news release that the center will be available to area schools and community groups.

"The university has a close working relationship with the School District of Waukesha and envisions active participation of K-12 students as they explore the ecological resources and environmental impact issues illuminated by the center," said Carrie Woods, university communications and marketing strategist.

Namesake's passion

Carolyn Scott, a trustee of Prairie Springs: The Paul Fleckenstein Trust, said her late brother, Paul Fleckenstein, had "a passion for the land and for education."

"When he died and the trust was created, we needed to find fabulous places that Paul would be excited about, and that led us directly to the Greene Field Station," Scott said. "You just know the passionate, qualified, and caring people at Carroll will enhance and preserve the land Paul was so passionate about."

The Greene Field Station is an open-air classroom of woodlands, streams, springs and marshes, where Carroll University students and faculty study rare ecosystems, their flora and fauna, and the impact of invasive species. The site is jointly managed by Carroll's environmental science and biology programs.

The property was donated to the university by the family of Howard and Else Greene in 1969. The property is located in the southern Kettle Moraine.

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