Please read the content of this page to learn about the field research station, facilities, and accommodations. When you want to register for a visit, use the form at the bottom of this page.
The mission of the Field Research Station & Learning Center(FRSLC) is to support ecological research and education within the BTNP and within the Big Thicket region and West Gulf Coastal Plain. This station will support multi-institution projects with the following goals:
- To increase collaboration among academic and non-academic institutions in research and education relating to regional environmental issues;
- To promote multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary research into the ecological functioning and sustainability of the Big Thicket National Preserve;
- To facilitate interaction among academic and agency personnel such that researchers conduct projects that address priorities of all involved parties and produce increased understanding of BTNP ecosystems, increased environmental awareness, public outreach, improved resource management, and/or published research papers; and
- To provide scientific data and information to benefit resource management within the Big Thicket National Preserve
The Field Research Station & Learning Center (FRSLC) is located in the historic town of Saratoga, Texas on a six-acre campus within minutes of the 25,000 acre Lance Rosier Unit of the Big Thicket National Preserve (BITH).
The Big Thicket National Preserve's Field Research Station & Learning Center provides students and researchers a facility to support research and field studies in the Preserve and surrounding region. The Station also welcomes environmental education programs.
The Big Thicket Association operates the Field Research Station & Learning Center under an agreement with Big Thicket National Preserve and Rice University.
The facility includes a small laboratory, library, classroom, kitchen, dining area and showers. Washer and dryer are available for laundry. Audiovisual equipment is available, including a monitor, VCR and slide projector, and computer and overhead projectors. (Overnight lodging within the FRSLC is no longer allowed. See Rules below)
Hazardous materials notice: If you bring anything to the Field Research Station & Learning Center (FRSLC) considered a hazardous material for research purposes within the facility or in the field, they must be removed from the FRSLC when you leave. See OSHA's Hazardous Materials List.
FIELD RESEARCH STATION ACTIVITIES are cancelled until further notice in consideration of our community and according to the guidelines issued by the National Park Service and the Big Thicket Preserve. Call for information on limited use of facilites.
View the current reservations to determine availability of the FRSLC.
Rules for Overnight Use
Individuals and/or groups who wish to stay overnight in the facility shall provide a tangible benefit to the Preserve. Examples of activities that meet this criterion include performance of inventories, monitoring and/or research that improves our understanding of the Big Thicket region; curriculum-based educational activities that teach students about the resources and values of the Big Thicket region; and volunteer projects that enhance the resources and values of the Preserve.
Individuals and/or groups who use the center while conducting research in the Preserve shall provide the preserve with a final copy of any reports related to their research. Individuals and/or groups that who use the Station for the purpose of environmental education must provide the preserve with a copy of the written material that facilitated their field study. All Research Station users are also strongly encouraged to provide the preserve with any incidental observations that they believe may benefit preserve management. Examples of valuable incidental observations include sightings of rare species, documentation of threats to Preserve resources, and noteworthy natural history observations.
We recognize that there will be times when demand for overnight use of the Station exceeds capacity. To avoid potential conflicts, the following schedule of priorities (listed in descending order) will govern overnight use:
- Individuals and/or groups who are conducting inventories, monitoring and/or research activities with full or partial financial support from the National Park Service. Professors will have priority over graduate students; graduate students will have priority over undergraduate students.
- Individuals and/or groups who are conducting inventories, monitoring and/or research activities without financial support from the National Park Service. Professors will have priority over graduate students; graduate students will have priority over undergraduate students.
- University classes that are visiting the Big Thicket for the purpose of environmental education and field study.
- Groups and/or individuals engaged in volunteer service projects.
- Other educational groups by special permission.
Guest Information (for daytime and overnight use)
For Scheduling and Payment information, go to bottom of this page.
New Overnight Rules (Effective June 15, 2019):
The FRLC offers two options for overnight lodging: (1) Brammer House and (2) Tent Use. The Brammer House accommodates 4 persons, 2 in each of two bedroom; one bathroom and a small kitchen/sitting area. There are two restrooms with two showers in each restroom and an area with washer/dryer.
Tent use is allowed on the grounds in designated areas shown the this map for up to 20 persons. See map for designated tenting areas.
Inside the main FRSLC building, there is also a kitchen area equipped with range, microwave, dishwasher, two refrigerators, storage cabinets, cooking and eating utensils. The lunchroom can seat up to 30 people. The FRSLC provides a small laboratory and field guide library. The library is located in the front room.
Field Research Station & Learning Center
Library / Sitting / Working Areas
The FRSLC provides a small laboratory and field guide library. The library is located in the front room.
Towels are located in the shower area of bathrooms. There are two restrooms with two showers in each restroom.
There is a full-size washer and dryer.
The dining area can seat up to 30 people.
The kitchen is equipped with range, microwave, dishwasher, two refrigerators, storage cabinets, cooking and eating utensils. An ice-machine is available on the back porch.
One large classroom provides 16 tables (4'x8'). Chairs seat 64. Equipment available includes VCR, slide, overhead, and media projectors, flip chart stand, and white boards, and a digital microscope with 42” LCD monitor.
The Brammer House is located about 100 yards from the FRSLC and can accommodate up to 4 people. It has the same amenities as the Field Research Station, minus wireless internet. Details:
- 2 Bedrooms -- 2 beds in each bedroom. Linens, blankets are provided. Sheets, blankets, pillowcases located in blue trunks in each bedroom.
- 1 Bathroom-shower and bathtub
- Living room area
- Kitchen -- Dishes, pots, pans, silverware, dish towels, dishwashing liquid provided.
- Dining area
- Washer and Dryer
Overnight Use Fee:
Groups and individuals using the facility overnight will be charged $10.00 per night per person.
It is expected that the group will leave the FRSLC and/or Brammer House in the same condition they found it.
Surcharges will be levied for those who do not use sheets on beds, damages, and housekeeping beyond normal lodging use.
Fees will not be charged for day-use Preserve activities such as environmental education classes and teacher workshops.
The Big Thicket Association can bill institutions for overnight fees.
Big Thicket Field Research Station & Learning Center
16890 FM 770
Saratoga, TX 77585
The Field Research Station & Learning Center is located in the town of Saratoga, Hardin County, Texas. Saratoga is between Kountze and Batson on Highway 770, and is only a few miles from Batson, which is on Highway 105. Directions:
- From Beaumont, take 105 to near Batson, where there is a turn to Saratoga on 770.
- From Woodville, take 69 to Kountze and then 770 west.
- From Houston, take 59 north to Cleveland and go down 105 to 4 miles past Batson, where you turn on 770 for Saratoga.
- From Livingston, take 146 south to Rye, and from there take 787 through Votaw and Thicket to Saratoga (See second map below, which shows a more detailed view).
Saratoga is a small town, so you'll find the field research station easily on the north side of 770, just west of "downtown Saratoga." Look for the brown sign. There is a long driveway to get back to the building.
Scheduling and Payment
Reservations for Field Research Station and Brammer House are cancelled until further notice due to restrictions by National Park Service.
To schedule use, please do the following, IN ORDER:
- View the current reservations to determine availability of the FRSLC.
- View the Rules for Overnight Use (above) for the Field Research Station & Learning Center to make sure your planned activities are within the guidelines.
- If you are doing scientific research, please see the NPS website for filing the necessary applications. If you have specific questions, contact the Big Thicket National Preserve Research Coordinator before each visit to discuss permitting and reporting requirements. A Scientific Research and Collecting Permit is required for most scientific activities pertaining to natural resources or social science studies in National Park System areas that involve fieldwork, specimen collection, and/or have the potential to disturb resources or visitors.
- Submit a reservation request to the Big Thicket Association, Field Research Station-Learning Center
- Upon successful reservation, pay by one of several methods.