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CMU Biological Station

Beaver Island classes revamped

Summer courses shortened, several opened to nonstudents

Contact: Gary H. Piatek

Graduate student Shannon McWaters describes her weekslong Central Michigan University undergraduate biology class at the Biological Station on Beaver Island as "kind of like a college summer camp.

"You have your classroom with a view of the water, and right after the lecture you go out to the field and actually see what you have learned."

Her experience gave her not only a new view on education, but also a new direction: It was her class on animal behavior with faculty member Wiline Pangle that led to the opportunity to pursue her master's degree and become Pangle's graduate assistant.

"I wouldn't be in grad school today if I hadn't gone up to Beaver Island," said McWaters, from Dorr, Michigan.

Class list

Not everyone has a life-changing event on Beaver Island. But starting this summer, more people will have that opportunity as the College of Science and Engineering has redesigned classes there.

In addition to the traditional three-week classes for CMU students, the biological station is offering some one- and two-week courses that are open to students, professionals and the public. The one- and two-week classes can be taken for credit by university students or as a noncredit workshop by others.

"We believe the shorter courses will appeal to more students and attract professionals and outdoor enthusiasts," said John Gordon, biological station manager.

Registration is available online. Here are course details:

For CMU students

Foundation of Ecology(Biology 213Z, June 25-July 13): Study of the relationship between organisms and their environment. Prerequisite: Biology 112 with a C or better. Instructor: Professor Kevin Pangle. Four credits.

Freshwater Biology (Biology 366Z, July 18-Aug. 5):An introduction to the ecology of freshwater systems with an emphasis on the natural history, identification and collection of freshwater organisms. Instructor: Professor Donna King. Three credits.

Quantitative Analysis (CHM 211Z):Lecture online May 7-June 9. Field experience emphasizing environmental analytical chemistry on Beaver Island June 11-21. Instructor: Professor Dale Lecaptain. Four credits.

For high school students

Field Biology (Biology 100Z, July 9-20): Introduction to the techniques and methods for field studies in biology. College credit for high school sophomores and up. Instructor: Professor Dan Benjamin. Three credits.

Open to nonstudents

Beaver Island Bird Diversity (Biology 597Z6, May 21-26): An investigation of bird diversity during spring migration using field observation and techniques and museum specimens. The course includes experience in mist-netting and bird banding. Must be able to hike outdoors. Must bring binoculars. Instructor: Professor Nancy Seefelt. Two credits.

Freshwater Mollusks of Northern Lake Michigan (Biology 597Z4; July 14-17):An examination of the ecology, life history, taxonomy and conservation status of freshwater mollusks from the Beaver Island archipelago and Lake Michigan. Instructor: Professor Dave Zanatta. One credit.

Stream Ecology (Biology 597Z8; July 30-Aug 2.):Investigate the physical, chemical and biological ecology of stream and river ecosystems. Interpret the effects of human activities on streams, rivers and watersheds. Instructor: Professor Gary Lamberti of the University of Notre Dame. One credit.

For more information, contact Gordon at, (989) 774-4400, or visit Brooks Hall 216.

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