PITTSBURG — The National Science Foundation has made a big investment in Pittsburg State University. Over $300,000 worth of big. According to a recent release from PSU, the NSF has awarded the Sperry Herbarium $307,000 to expand and update.

Established in 1964, Sperry Herbarium is one of the region’s largest collection of plant species and allows researchers hands on educational opportunities. The herbarium is nationally known and has received requests for DNA samples from the Smithsonian Institution. PSU said the money will allow the herbarium to expand and modernize.

Associate Professor Neil Snow, who directs the herbarium, said in a release that he thinks the expansion will allow his students more valuable experience.

“I'm particularly happy for our students, because it will provide support for a master’s degree student and several undergraduates, all of whom will gain valuable curatorial experience,” Snow said.

The herbarium will move to neighboring Hartman Hall which offers more space. They will also be installing 67 full and 12 half sized herbarium cabinets which will allow them space for the next three decades of plant collection.

The grant will also allow PSU to allow technology to assist in the teaching process. PSU said in a release that the grant will allow them to upload images and information so that they will be available worldwide.

According to the NSF website their mission is foster the sciences. “The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…”

The current collection of the Sperry Herbarium contains over 65,000 plants. Aside from the necessary equipment to process the plants the Herbarium also has many print resources. It is open from August to April for qualified users.