A Rufous-winged Sparrow perches within the branches of a mesquite tree against blue sky.
A Rufous-winged Sparrow perches within the branches of a mesquite tree against blue sky.
Research

Conducting Research

Putting the Research Ranch to work for science and conservation
Rufous-winged Sparrow. Photo: Steve Prager.
Rufous-winged Sparrow. Photo: Steve Prager.
Research

Conducting Research

Putting the Research Ranch to work for science and conservation

At the Appleton-Whittell Research Ranch of the National Audubon Society, we work to formulate, test, and demonstrate methods to rehabilitate and safeguard the bioregion and provide assistance to community members and policy-makers in the protection and stewardship of our native ecosystems, natural resources, and quality of life. In other words, we enable researchers to conduct the studies needed for Audubon to fulfill its mission of protecting birds and the places they need. Prioritized research includes, but is not limited to:

  • Studies focused on increasing our understanding of flora and fauna of conservation concern (especially birds!).
  • Studies unravelling the role of soils, fire, water, plants, wildlife, domestic animals, and humans on native ecosystems.
  • Studies that include a focus on bettering public understanding, appreciation, and management of Arizona's flora, fauna, communities, and habitats.
  • Studies that investigate the impact of a warming climate and aridifying region on Arizona's flora, fauna, communities, and habitats.

While we aim to support as broad an array of research as possible, not all projects are appropriate for this field station. The ideal research, in our view, does significantly alter the habitat or damage the biological integrity of the Research Ranch, increases the ability of communities and leaders to safeguard and restore grassland ecosystems, and provides archived data that can benefit future researchers.

If you have a project that fits the above, please reach out to us at researchranch@audubon.org. (All applicants will be asked to fill out and submit a research proposal prior to conducting any work on the Research Ranch. Save yourself some time by checking it out now!)

Overnight Lodging

Will your research require that you stay for a while? Well, you're in luck - lodging is available for researchers at the Appleton-Whittell Research Ranch!

The Research Complex:
  • Swinging H Ranch House: The ranch house sleeps six with three separate bedrooms, each containing two twin beds. The house also has two bathrooms, a full (shared) kitchen, a large dining and living area, and a washing machine (please keep water conservation in mind when deciding to use the washing machine).
  • Bunkhouse: The Bunkhouse sleeps eleven with five bedrooms, four of which contain two twin beds and one of which holds three. The back bedroom is set up as a suite with its own bathroom. All told, the Bunkhouse can sleep up to eleven individuals and includes two bathrooms, a full (shared) kitchen, a modest dining and living area, and a washing machine (please keep water conservation in mind when deciding to use the washing machine).
  • Casita: The Casita features a queen murphy bed, bathroom, and kitchenette.
  • Laboratory: Our 25 x 35 foot laboratory building includes a chest freezer, specimen case, lab sink, and restroom. It also includes plenty of counter space, overhead fluorescent lighting, electrical outlets, and wi-fi.
Lodging Options/Fees
  • Non-Exclusive Lodging at the Swinging H or Bunkhouse: Both buildings ofter ample room for lodging, living space, and a full kitchen. By renting non-exclusive lodging, you are only reserving a bed! You may have roomates sharing your space.
    • Researcher - $40 per person/night (Discount Rates available for long term researchers: 50% off after 14 days. Lodging days must be consecutive.)
    • Students (undegrad or below) - $20 per person/night
  • Tent Camping: Not permitted without exclusive housing rental, see below.
  • RV/Trailer Camping: Not Permitted.
  • Exclusive Housing Rentals: The Swinging H, Bunkhouse, and full Research Complex are available for exclusive rental, meaning no others will be sharing your space.
    • Swinging H: The Swinging H offers six beds and room for 7 tents.
      • Researcher: $240 daily + $20 per camper/night.
      • Students (undegrad or below): $120 daily + $10 per camper/night.
    • Bunkhouse: The Bunkhouse offers eleven beds and room for 7 tents.
      • Researcher: $440 daily + $20 per camper/night.
      • Students (undegrad or below): $220 daily + $10 per camper/night.
    • Full Research Complex: Renting the full Research Complex gives you exclusive access to the Swinging H, Bunkhouse, and Casita and offers room for 14 tents. $1500 daily.

* A $10 laundry fee will be charged per person/visit. You can opt-out of this fee by using your own linens (towels, sheets, etc.)
** Upon arrival, all researchers will be required to sign a release of liability and the Appleton-Whittell Research Ranch code of conduct.

For more information about our ameneties, limitations, and fee structure, click here.

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