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Promoting Environmental Education, Research,
Preservation, and Appreciation
Set on 661 acres in rural Barry County in southwest Michigan, Pierce Cedar Creek Institute, a mix between an environmental education center, nature center, and biological field station, provides visitors with an opportunity for outdoor education and exposure to a blend of diverse habitats including wetlands, forests, marshes, streams, lakes, and prairies.
To fulfill our mission"to promote environmental education, research, preservation, and appreciation," the Institute offers environmental education and sustainable land management programs to the community, educating environmental stewards by communicating the core values of land conservancy, environmental responsibility, citizenship, inclusiveness, and the pursuit of knowledge; undergraduate research grants and research partnerships with a consortium of area colleges and universities; and miles ofhiking trails open to the public, free of charge, from dawn to dusk year-round.
Environmental Leaders Series
Wednesday, April 22
7 – 8:30 pm
A new series of talks will begin at the Institute this spring. As part of Earth Week, Michigan State University Professor Elena Litchman will speak about local lake structure, how to preserve the quality of area lakes and prevent problems caused by
undesirable algae and cyanobacteria.
She will talk about her research on harmful algal blooms and how
scientists can monitor the blooms
using autonomous robotic fish.
Please note the event date has changed from our newsletter listing
By mid-May most migrating birds have returned and are in song. Take a 2.5
mile hike through varied terrain, learning to identify birds by their song and by sight. Participants are encouraged to bring binoculars and field guides, though some will be available at the Institute.
Another ScienceStrong Day at the Institute – Institute Launches High School Science Exploration Summer Program
This July a group of twelve high school students from Barry County will be able to experience Pierce Cedar Creek Institute’s first ever Summer Science Exploration Program. Led by the Institute’s Education and Field Station Director Dr. Sara Syswerda and Program Manager Matt Dykstra, Calvin College Professor Dr. Dave Dornbos, Delton Kellogg High School teacher Connie High, and Hastings High School teacher Marty Buehler, this program will bring students out to the 661-acre Institute to do hands-on field research, meet scientists who are working at the Institute for the summer, and learn about college opportunities and careers in science. Upon completion of the program, participants will present some of their findings at the Institute’s Family Science Night on August 6.
The Summer Science Exploration
Program will offer students a series of science-learning opportunities unavailable elsewhere in Barry County. The instructional team will provide students
an overview of field ecology through lab and classroom work that is supplemented with field-based experiences; topics will likely include plant and animal sampling, soil analysis, watershed analysis, and communicating science. Through interactions with scientists at the
Institute, students will learn how
research is conducted on a wide variety
of subjects, including forensic science, invasive plants, and snake population ecology. This contact with scientists, who include undergraduate student researchers, graduate student researchers, university faculty researchers, and professional scientists, will offer students insight into the different stages of a scientist’s career. Plus, in working with these scientists, the high school student participants will have the chance to collect real data for the Institute and thus be an asset to the scientific community.
For many students, including those from Barry County, making the transition from high school to college can be a difficult one, and this program will also address some of the challenges students face. Undergraduates staying at the Institute will lead several conversations with the high school students to help them feel more comfortable with the idea of starting college. College readiness topics will include how to apply for college, what college is really like as a freshman, how to pay for college, and how to pick the right college or university. Through these discussions, the high school students will gain some practical advice, advice that will greatly enhance not only college preparedness, but college success.
“Our hope is that we encourage more students from Barry County to go into the sciences,” says Dr. Sara Syswerda. “Our goal is to provide greater opportunities for students who are thinking about science as a career. Many of these students may not have actually met many scientists before, and we are hoping to provide students with role models to show how they can become scientists, too. This year we have two Barry County students coming to the Institute to participate in our undergraduate programs, bringing the total to three undergraduates from Barry County in the last ten years. We would like to see more of the local students going into college science programs come back to the Institute to do research here. Then they will be able to be the role models for other local students, young and old.”
Students must be entering 10th through 12th grade in fall 2015. Students with an interest in science, a positive attitude, and willingness to learn are encouraged to apply. Preference will be given to Barry County residents. Interested students should contact Dr. Sara Syswerda at (269) 721-4434 or email@example.com.