Home Lifestyle The Freeman Center gives students hands-on learning with farm animals

The Freeman Center gives students hands-on learning with farm animals

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Cows at the Freeman Center come out for lunch Nov. 2. Various organizations use the Freeman Center to practice hands-on skills.
Photo by Ashley Brown | Staff Photographer

The Freeman Center is a vast, grassy ranch located in San Marcos providing students the ability to experience visual, hands-on learning while still attaining class credit.

Freeman Ranch originated in 1941 when the Freeman brothers bought a portion of the land it encompasses today.

In 1981, Harry Freeman gave over 3,000 acres of land as a trust to Texas State which became the official manager of the land in 1985 when Harry Freeman died. Joe Freeman’s part of the ranch is managed by Frost National Bank, according to the Freeman Center website.

The Freeman brothers were passionate about the education of children and helping others. Now their legacy lives on as Texas State students use the facilities for farming, ranching, game management, educational, and experimental purposes. The ranch has a classroom building with rooms dedicated to students and their experiences.

The typical class that use the space are the agricultural, biology, forensic anthropology and geography departments, as well as the Air Force ROTC and the Army ROTC.

Students studying at the ranch study the wildlife and its habitats. Many courses use the ranch to identify different types of animals.

Christopher Thomas, the facilities manager, said Texas State is one of the only universities that has this kind of resource so close to campus.

“Something that we offer here is the hands-on experience. A lot of other schools don’t have this type of resource 15 miles away from campus. If they do have this resource, it’s typically a couple hours away.” Thomas said.

The ranch provides an area for conducting research, but during hunting season, there are specific hours for when hunters can be on the property and when researchers can be on the property.

Ivan Castro-Arellano, assistant professor of biology at Texas State, said in some classes that visit the ranch, students get split up into groups, gather data and update reports.

“Since this is for a class, each professor has their own permit to go on (the property),” Castro-Arellano said. “(The students) just trap (the animal) and see what it is and release them. We don’t kill anything.”

In some cases, there are graduate students who work closely with professors for research. There is much still unknown about wildlife that the student researchers of Texas State strive to figure out.

The Freeman Center is located at 2101 Freeman Ranch Road.

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