Located just five miles from Washington & Jefferson College near Pittsburgh, PA, the Abernathy Field Station serves as a unique outdoor ecology classroom for students, faculty, and researchers.

The AFS encompasses many different ecosystems, including mixed deciduous forest, a stand of conifers, several spring seeps, two larger perennial streams, a wetland, and a mowed field. A diverse assemblage of birds, salamanders, fish, small mammals, and white-tailed deer find shelter throughout the 57-acre plot of land.

To help enhance the classroom learning experience and provide background data for environmental researchers, a NexSens real-time weather station and stream monitoring system was installed.

Real-time river and weather data

At a stream site along Jefferson Run, researchers installed a YSI 600LS Sonde to collect temperature, conductivity, and stream level data and send it to a data logger with radio telemetry. The sonde is secured in a PVC deployment pipe for protection.

Nearby, a Vaisala WXT-series multi-parameter weather sensor collects data on six essential weather parameters and sends it to a radio-to-phone data logger. All information is then transmitted via landline phone to a computer running NexSens iChart software in the college’s biology department. Additionally, a WQData Web datacenter hosts all information in real time on the biology department’s website.

With this system in place, both faculty and students have easy access to the data they need to study the structure and function of the ecosystems through both coursework and independent research projects.

Aerial Image Credit: Washington & Jefferson College


G2-INW Water Level & Quality Monitor

The NexSens G2-INW provides live data access to Seametrics (formerly INW) Smart Sensors. Included solar power pack and integral cellular system provide real-time data and notifications.

Vaisala WXT536 Multi-Parameter Weather Sensor

The Vaisala WXT536 Multi-Parameter Weather Sensor simultaneously measures air temperature, humidity, pressure, rainfall and wind in a compact platform with optional heating.

NexSens WQData LIVE Web Datacenter

WQData LIVE is a web-based project management service that allows users 24/7 instant access to data collected from remote telemetry systems.