Conferences & Retreats at PLE

Come join us for your next scientific conference, relaxing academic retreat, or any other education-related activity!

Dr. Pipas reading a poster

The Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology (PLE) is the perfect location for your next gathering with excellent accommodations, food, and customer service. Located on the shores of Pymatuning Lake, the PLE offers a quiet and relaxing location that lets people unwind and focus on their conference. Whether its a workshop for 12 or a retreat for 120, PLE has what you need.

The University Students sitting by the lakeof Pittsburgh has invested considerable resources to modernize the facilities at PLE, providing a comfortable environment for student, researchers and visiting conferees. As a result, we have new and newly renovated cabins, Dining Hall, Recreation Hall, classrooms, laboratories, and large meeting rooms. We have also replaced nearly all of our old furniture with brand new red oak furniture. Audio-visual equipment is available and the sites are served by high-speed wireless internet.

"The food is excellent!" is a comment often heard by conference attendees. We work with a local caterer to specifically suit the tastes of your group.

The recreational opportunities are endless! There are canoes, a volleyball court, and a horseshoe pit. In the Recreation Hall there is a fireplace, satellite television, a pool table, and ping-pong table. Nearby are beaches for swimming and trails for hiking, biking, bird watching, and running. In the evening, the campfire pit is usually a big hit for socializing and roasting marshmallows. 

Our staff are always ready to answer questions and resolve any challenges that might arise during your stay. We will work with you well in advance to help plan your event and let you know about all of your conference or retreat options. Please contact us anytime with questions and for available dates. In general, conference dates are limited to times when our University field courses (offered mid-May to early August) are not in session.

Numerous groups have utilized our facility in recent years including annual retreats for the University of Pittsburgh's Biological Sciences Department, Human Genetics Department, Honors College, and Optometry Department. But PLE is not just for retreats; classes from the University of Pittsburgh, University of West Virginia, Clarion University, and Buffalo State have also visited for weekend trips. In addition, our facilities have also been enjoyed by local groups including the Boy Scouts.

Types of housingInside of a cabin

One of the cabinsCabins have a living room, kitchen, bathroom and 1, 2, or 3 bedrooms. Bedrooms may contain either one full-size bed or a bunk bed. Each cabin is equipped with a microwave, stove, refrigerator, dishes, utensils and cookware.

Apartments have 2 bedrooms which share a kitchen and bath. Each bedroom has a private entrance and one full-size bed. Each apartment is equipped with a microwave, stove, refrigerator, dishes, utensils and cookware.

The Bald Eagle Dorms consist of large rooms, each with 4 to 6 beds, a bathroom, and a kitchen equipped with a microwave, stove, refrigerator, dishes, utensils and cookware

The White-tailed Deer and Mountain Laurel Dorms consist of large rooms, each with 4 pairs of bunk beds. Each Dorm also has a newly renovated bathroom and a lounge area with desktop computers, printers , couches, a refrigerator, and a microwave.

Conference costs

Housing costs are $30 per person per night.

Costs of catering depend on the number of meals and the level of dining desired. All catering costs are simply passed on to the conference organizers with no additional markup.

Classroom/Lecture Hall use has a nominal fee of $30 per day.

Canoe use is free. Pontoon boats can be used by approved operators at a nominal cost (we have two, 12-passenger boats that rent for $100/day/boat).


Parties interested in having a conference or retreat at the Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology should contact PLE secretary at (814)273-0416.