Summer Classes

Find out more about the summer classes offered at Central Michigan University's Biological Station on Beaver Island. To explore travel and housing options, and costs for attending courses at the station, please go to the CMUBS home page to find additional information through the sidebar.

A CMU biology faculty member holding class in the woods at the CMU Biological Station on Beaver Island.

Biology Classes
Avian Field Experience
Plant Communities of Beaver Island
Freshwater Algae
Aquatic Entomology
Michigan Amphibians and Reptiles
Medicinal Ethnobotany
Forensic Entomology
Stream and River Ecology
Foundations of Ecology
Great Lakes Mollusks
Zooplankton of the Great Lakes
Field Biology

Astronomy Classes
Intro to Astro Observations

Geology Classes
Geology of Beaver Island and the Great Lakes Region

Geography Classes
Beaver Island Hiking, Geography and History

Environmental Science Classes
Introduction to Ecosystems Structure and Function
Earth and You: Introduction to Environmental Science

Chemistry Classes
Quantitative Analysis
Environmental Chemistry of the Great Lakes
Chemistry of Natural Waters

Journalism Classes
Nature Photography

Music Classes
Nature Inspired Composition

Art Classes
Nature Inspired Art

English Classes
Creative Writing in Nature

Honors Classes
Sculpture, Collage, and the Natural Environment
Helping and Hiking on Beaver Island
Island Identity and Environment

Classes available at the CMU Biological Station - Summer 2024

* Classes and schedule subject to change.
** Listed in order of course dates

HON 321 

  • Sculpture, Collage and the Natural Environment - May 5-11, 2024 - Taught by Lavana Shurtliff - 3 credits
  • Helping and Hiking on Beaver Island - May 5-11, 2024 - Taught by Mark Francek - 3 credits
  • Island Identity and Environment - May 5-11, 2024 - Taught by Maureen Eke - 3 credits

BIO 516Z - Avian Field Experience

  • May 13-17, 2024
  • Taught by Nancy Seefelt
  • 2 credits
  • Also available as a workshop
  • A field experience in birding and mist-netting with emphasis on bird identification, bird banding, migration and avian conservation.

GEL 375Z - Geology of Beaver Island and the Great Lakes Region

  • May 17-25, 2024
  • Taught by Maria Gonzalez
  • 3 credits
  • Also available as a workshop
  • An overview of the geologic processes that formed the Great Lakes region, its mineral resources, and how its natural environments have changed through time. Special emphasis will be given to the natural processes that created Beaver Island and continue to affect ecosystems there.

BIO 597ZJ - Plant Communities of Beaver Island

  • May 28 - June 1, 2024
  • Taught by Joanne Dannenhoffer
  • 2 credits
  • Also available as a workshop
  • Exploration of plant communities on Beaver Island including boreal forest, mesic northern forest, and open dunes.

BIO 597ZK - Freshwater Algae

  • June 3-8, 2024
  • Taught by Hunter Carrick
  • 3 credits
  • Also available as a workshop
  • This course will examine the taxonomy and ecology of freshwater algae in the Great Lakes region. We will take a system-level approach towards describing and identifying characteristic algal assemblages that inhabit ecosystems in and around the Beaver Island Archipelago. Students will conduct habitat assessments for freshwater ecosystems that exhibit a range in size and biological complexity (beach pool, bog, fen, marsh, inland lakes, and the Great Lakes).

ENS 313Z - Intro Ecosystems Structure and Function

  • June 3-8, 2024
  • Taught by Amanda Suchy
  • 3 credits
  • This course will introduce the biological, chemical, and physical controls on how ecosystems look (structure) and do what they do (function). It will include discussions of both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and cover topics such as energy, carbon and nutrient flow through ecosystems, biodiversity effects on ecosystem functions, and the role of disturbance on ecosystem functions.

BIO 597ZD - Aquatic Entomology

  • June 10-15, 2024
  • Taught by Richard Merritt and Martin Berg
  • 2 credits
  • Also available as a workshop
  • The study of the biology, ecology, and systematics of aquatic insects that live in streams, rivers, lakes, and wetlands. Lectures will focus on the biology, behavior, and ecology of aquatic insects, and lab work will cover the morphology and identification of major groups. This course will emphasize field and laboratory work on identifying aquatic insects found mainly in the Midwestern United States. 

BIO 597ZE - Michigan Amphibians and Reptiles

  • June 17-22, 2024
  • Taught by John Rowe
  • 2 credits
  • Also available as a workshop
  • This course will include identification, form, function, and ecology of Michigan reptiles and amphibians.

BIO 597ZG - Medicinal Ethnobotany

  • June 17-22, 2024
  • Taught by Brian Doyle
  • 2 credits
  • Also available as a workshop
  • Study of the historical and current role of plants as medicine with emphasis on the botany, ethnobotany, chemistry, and pharmacology of Michigan plants as well as field and laboratory techniques related to ethnobotanical and ethnopharmacological research.

BIO 597ZI - Forensic Entomology - The Real CSI

  • June 17-22, 2024
  • Taught by Richard Merritt and Martin Berg
  • 2 credits
  • Also available as a workshop
  • This course will explore the various ways insects can and have been used as evidence in a court of law and how they can assist in solving crimes. Objectives are to finish this course with a better knowledge of: 1) how insects and related arthropods are used during legal investigations; 2) why and when insects can become valuable evidence in a court of law; 3) how to recognize major insects of forensic importance; 4) understanding insect basic biology, succession, and their role in decomposition; and 5) how insects are used to determine the time between death and corpse discovery in murder investigations. The course will involve students collecting insects from decaying pigs in the field and cover actual cases and viewing videos involved in forensic entomology.

BIO 530Z - Stream and River Ecology

  • June 24-29, 2024
  • Taught by Gary Lamberti and Tiffany Schriever
  • 3 credits
  • Also available as a workshop
  • This course will explore interrelations between organisms and their flowing water environment, emphasizing links between biotic communities and the productivity, diversity, and biogeochemistry of stream and river ecosystems.

BIO 213Z - Foundations of Ecology

  • June 24 - July 12, 2024
  • Taught by Kevin Pangle
  • 4 credits
  • Study of the relationship between organisms and their environment.

GEO 575AZ - Beaver Island Hiking, Geography and History

  • July 1-7, 2024
  • Taught by Mark Francek
  • 3 credits
  • Also available as a workshop

BIO 520Z - Great Lakes Mollusks

  • July 8-12, 2024 - July 8-9 at CMUBS
  • Taught by Dave Zanatta
  • 2 credits
  • Also available as a workshop
  • An examination of the ecology, life history, taxonomy, evolution, and conservation status of freshwater mollusks (bivalves and gastropods) from the Great Lakes region.

BIO 597ZF - Zooplankton of the Great Lakes

  • July 15-19, 2024
  • Taught by Scott McNaught
  • 2 credits
  • Also available as a workshop
  • This course covers the taxonomy, physiology, behavior, and ecology of planktonic animals. Students will learn how to collect and identify zooplankton taxa and analyze abundance, spatial distribution, and population growth.

CHM 211ZQR - Quantitative Analysis

  • July 15-26, 2024 at CMUBS
  • Taught by Dale LeCaptain
  • 4 credits
  • Lecture online prior
  • The lecture is on-line June 10 through July 12 and July 29 through August 1. The lab is a face-to-face field experience emphasizing environmental analytical chemistry at the Central Michigan University Biological Station July 15 through July 26 on Beaver Island.

CHM 515Z - Environmental Chemistry of the Great Lakes

  • July 22-26, 2024 at CMUBS
  • Taught by Dale LeCaptain
  • 2 credits
  • Lecture online prior
  • This hands-on field and laboratory course applies analytical chemistry to analyze air, water, and soil samples collected from Michigan freshwater ecosystems. Course will meet online asynchronous July 8-18; course will meet face to face on Beaver Island M-F 8:30AM-5:30PM July 19, 22-26.

BIO 100Z - Field Biology

  • July 22-27, 2024
  • Taught by Bradley Swanson
  • 3 credits
  • Open to High School students
  • Introduction to field studies and data analyses. Emphasis on relationships between organisms and their environment. Does not count towards any Biology Major.

ENS 101QRZ - Earth and You: Introduction to Environmental Science

  • July 22-27, 2024
  • Instructor TBA
  • 3 credits
  • UP Credit (II.B) for CMU students
  • Open to High School Students
  • Explore environmental systems through examination of major issues facing humanity today. Topics include water availability and quality, climate change, sustainable resource management, pollution, and biodiversity. Satisfies University Program Group II laboratory requirement. Quantitative Reasoning. (University Program Group II-B: Quantitative and Mathematical Sciences)

AST 112Z - Intro to Astro Observations

  • July 29  - August 2, 2024
  • Taught by Glen Williams
  • 1 credit
  • UP credit (II.A) for CMU Students
  • The observation and interpretation of the sky using the naked eye, small telescopes, celestial globes, and star maps. Supplements AST 111 by providing observational experience. Satisfies University Program Group II laboratory requirement.

MUS 597AZ - Nature Inspired Composition

  • August 1-10, 2024
  • Taught by Jay Batzner
  • 3 credits
  • Also available as a workshop
  • Students will study the music, philosophies, and techniques of composers inspired by direct contact with nature. Note: Portable audio recording device (a smartphone is sufficient) is required.

CHM 371Z - Chemistry of Natural Waters

  • August 5-9, 2024
  • Taught by Sharyl Majorski
  • 2 credits
  • Also available as a workshop
  • This course is designed as a general-education investigation of the importance of water to the existence of life on Earth. We will examine a variety of interactions between humans and water, including both human impacts on water resources and the impact of water resources on human society. Topics will include water chemistry, water law, water diversions, water pollution, and challenges to water sustainability. Lectures will focus on basic water chemistry and current practices used in water monitoring programs with laboratory activities based on water quality analysis methods and reporting.

JRN 597EZ - Nature Photography

  • August 5-10, 2024
  • Taught by Steve Jessmore
  • 3 credits
  • Also available as a workshop
  • Nature photography on Beaver Island including field trips.

ART 397AZ - Nature Inspired Art

  • August 12-16, 2024
  • Taught by Denise Fanning
  • 2 credits
  • Also available as a workshop
  • A studio course in nature focusing on the relationship between the natural environment and the creative process. Traditional and non- traditional skills and techniques will be explored in the development of independent work in response to the natural world. 

ENG 513AZ - Creative Writing in Nature

  • August 12-16, 2024
  • Taught by Robert Fanning
  • 2 credits
  • Also available as a workshop
  • Inspired by hikes on the fields and beaches and woods of Beaver Island, as well as reading and analysis of eco-poetry and possibly some selections of non-fiction nature-writing, students in this course will write poetry that both celebrates the natural world and interrogates our role as human beings and artists in it.

A large group of students in one of the classrooms at the CMU Biological Station on Beaver Island.