Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies is a Christian, educational institution that trains leaders to sustain God’s good Earth. The academic program serves colleges students with courses and research experiences in field ecology and environmental stewardship. The Environmental Education Internship Program provides hands-on environmental education to K-12 students at local schools. Au Sable’s facilities also support retreats and conferences.
Au Sable began as a camp in 1958 for Christian boys to provide an opportunity for learning and appreciating the natural world as God’s handiwork. After one of Au Sable’s founders, Dr. Harold Snyder, became a professor at Taylor University (Upland, IN), he began utilizing the site as a location for field studies and courses offered by the university. In 1979, Au Sable was formally established as an institute of environmental studies with an outreach to Christian colleges and universities across North America. Students from these schools, and other private and public, non-affiliated institutions, have studied a wide range of topics offered by Au Sable’s college program. Au Sable also offers an environmental education program, which was initiated in 1978 and provides internship opportunities to students who have taken courses at Au Sable.
The Great Lakes Campus is located just outside of Mancelona, Michigan on Big Twin Lake in the north woods country of Northern Lower Michigan, about 80 miles southwest of the Straits of Mackinac and 40 miles east of Traverse City and Grand Traverse Bay.
The Pacific Rim Campus is located on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound, Washington. Whidbey Island is the mid-point connecting Vancouver, British Columbia and Seattle, Washington.
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Our India Campus is located in South India at Bishop Heber College in Tiruchirapalli (Trichy), Tamil Nadu, although much of the course is spent travelling throughout South India in Tamil Nadu and Kerala States.
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Our Costa Rica Campus is located in Vara Blanca, Costa Rica at the cloud rainforest campus of the Association for Development through Education.
Au Sable publishes an electronic newsletter that is delivered by email every other month, six times a year. You may sign up on our homepage or in the sidebar of this and other pages by entering your e-mail address in the "Enewsletter Sign-up." The newsletter includes updates about Au Sable, stories about alumni, articles about Christian environmental stewardship in the news, and tips and do-it-yourself projects for sustainable living.
As a non-profit, Au Sable relies heavily upon the donations and gifts of our friends and alumni. Every donation makes a difference.
Au Sable is able to accept gifts of all kinds: cash, stocks and bonds, personal items and property, and in-kind services. As a registered non-profit 501(c)3 organization, all donations and gifts are tax-deductable.
Donations are accepted online or by mail:
Au Sable Institute for Environmental Studies
7526 Sunset Trail NE
Mancelona, MI 49659
Many employers have matching gift programs that contribute the same amount to an organization as its employees. If you are interested in learning more about this option, please contact your human resources director.
The best way to assist Au Sable as a volunteer is by serving as an ambassador for Au Sable and spreading the word about your experience to prospective students, members of your church, friends and family and anyone who may want to know about our mission. Since we are a relatively small organization, and focused primarily on educational activities, our on-site volunteer opportunities are somewhat limited at this time; however, we are open to volunteers with specific skills or expertise (e.g. educational training, financial management, maintenance skills) to meet critical institutional needs. We will post these needs on our website as they become available.
If you have any questions about Au Sable programs or facilities, please contact Lynn Drew, administrative assistant in our Great Lakes office, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (231) 587-8686 or (231) 587-5353. She will be happy to answer your questions or connect you with another staff member who can help you.
If you have any questions regarding the Pacific Rim campus, please contact Holly Kress, Resource Development Officer, at email@example.com or call (360) 678-5586. She will be happy to answer your questions or connect you with another staff member who can help you.
No, the Institute is primarily geared to field education for residential college students. Visitors are welcome to see our facilities, visit our library or find out about our educational programs. Retreat opportunities are available for the winter.
Almost all ASI courses are hands-on and field-based. Class size averages between 8-10 students with a maximum of 14 students. Faculty-student interaction is important at Au Sable. Faculty members often work with and assist students outside of class, collaborate with them in research, and join them for meals, recreation and worship services. Our faculty is comprised of college professors who are well-qualified in their area of expertise and share an enthusiasm for Christian environmental stewardship and Au Sable’s mission.
Signing up for courses involves a few simple steps. First, you will need to pre-register online on our homepage (www.ausable.org), and submit basic information. After you have completed the pre-registration, we will contact you by e-mail about applying for financial aid and providing information about your home college through our online registration system, Populibot (please check your spam filter to make sure the e-mail does not end up there).
Next, once you’ve completed those two components and paid your $25 application fee, you will be able to log in to Populibot and enroll in the course(s) you would like to take, then print your course schedule and registrar notification document. You will need to bring your course schedule and registrar notification document to your college’s Au Sable faculty representative and school registrar for their signatures. At this time, you will also receive an invoice from Au Sable for your $250 tuition deposit per session enrolled. Mail your registrar notification document and $250 tuition deposit to Au Sable’s office to complete enrollment.
Our e-mails from Populibot (our online registration system) sometimes get sent to college spam filters. Check your spam folder first to see if the e-mail was accidentally filtered there. If you still aren’t able to find it, please contact Lynn Drew (firstname.lastname@example.org; 231-587-8686) in our Great Lakes office.
Au Sable has Faculty Representatives at each of our participating colleges. ASI Faculty Representatives serve as a resource on campus for information about Au Sable, answering student questions and helping students choose and register for courses. To view a list of our ASI Faculty Representatives, see our Participating Institutions page.
Au Sable offers two unique international courses that are unavailable elsewhere. Our ‘Ecology of the Indian Tropics’ course takes students to South India during January term where they will learn about the diverse ecosystems and cultures of South India. Students visit the Bay of Bengal, the Western Ghats Mountain Range, and numerous national parks along the way. This course has been offered in partnership with Bishop Heber College for the past 15 years and is team-taught with ASI professor Dr. Orin Gelderloos and a faculty member from Bishop Heber, Dr. A. Relton. Students from Bishop Heber also take the course, making it a unique, intercultural experience.
Au Sable also offers a ‘Tropical Agriculture and Missions’ course in rural Costa Rica at the cloud rainforest campus of the Association for Development through Education. This course teaches students the hands-on skills and techniques necessary for working with resource-poor farmers in tropical environments. Students learn from local farmers, development workers and missionaries about low-cost agricultural techniques and plant propagation and requirements to reduce poverty and improve the health of the world’s poor.
Our certificate programs acknowledge a student’s proficiency and expertise in specific areas related to a particular aspect of environmental science. Students may be certified as an environmental analyst, naturalist, water resources analyst, and land resources analyst. To receive a certificate, students need to meet certain course and experiential requirements. To read more about certificate benefits and requirements, visit our Certificate Programs page.
Au Sable offers upper-level, college courses to students interested in learning about and caring for God’s world, ranging from freshmen through seniors and beyond. Traditionally, students come to Au Sable from the Christian colleges and universities across North America (See Participating Institutions, which are part of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU); however, we often have Christian students from public universities who also attend. If you have questions about participation, please contact our admissions office by e-mail (email@example.com) or phone (231-587-8686).
Sustaining Partner Grants are available to all students who attend an Au Sable Sustaining Partner school. Grants are worth $300 per course towards tuition. Please see our list of Partner and Participating Colleges to see if your school is a Sustaining Partner.
Honors Scholarships are available to all returning Au Sable students who maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher in their Au Sable classes. Scholarships are $250 for January and May courses, and $400 for Summer Session courses.
Au Sable faculty members come primarily from the Christian colleges and universities throughout North America, with a few faculty members who teach at public universities in the U.S. All faculty are committed Christians who love the opportunity to share their expertise and experience with students. Read more about our faculty and why they love teaching at Au Sable.
You can think of Au Sable courses as being the same as your home college’s courses. No credits need to transfer to your home college for you to receive credit. Au Sable simply sends a copy of your transcript to your home college registrar’s office once courses are completed. These credits and grades will be recorded in your home college transcript.
Au Sable designates its courses as 4 credit hours. It is important, however, to check with your Au Sable Faculty Representative to see how many credits you will receive from your home college. For example, Trinity Christian College gives 4 credits per course to students who take one ASI course but 6 credits for students who take 2 Summer Session courses.
Au Sable’s primary internship opportunity is through our Environmental Education Internship Program (EEIP). This program serves to train the next generation of environmental educators by utilizing recent college graduates as teaching interns. Our program coordinator, Paul Wiemerslage, teaches interns in the principles of environmental education and trains them to lead school groups on field trips to our Au Sable campus. The 4-7 week internships take place in the fall, winter, and spring. Au Sable provides housing on campus and a living stipend during the internship.
Yes, Au Sable alumni, staff, and faculty serve as a resource for former students searching for jobs. Au Sable relies on its extensive alumni network to inform the Au Sable community of job opportunities. We also distribute job information as we receive it from our environmental network.
The Summer Research Program takes place during Summer Session I and Summer Session II at the Great Lakes Campus. Students accepted into the summer research program take Research Methods I and II courses as well as an Au Sable course related to their research. Faculty from these three courses assists the students in research design and implementation. Research students receive a discount of half off tuition fees, room and board. In addition, they gain critical research skills, receive 6 credits toward their degree, and participate in a collaborative research community for 10 weeks.
Au Sable Institute’s Community Schools Program is the premier organization in Northwest Lower Michigan offering a variety of day-long field trips for local schools and other groups. The program serves around 2,000 school age children each year, offering a variety of learning experiences to children spanning from kindergarten to 12th grade. Each environmental education unit is tailored to the specific grade level of the student and also addresses Michigan science objectives for that age-group. Children have the opportunity to experience nature from an environmental perspective, learn more about the world that surrounds them and even learn about the cultural history of the area.
Our facilities accomodate groups of 70 people or less (including students, teachers, and chaperones). Please contact us for approval if you anticipate more than 70 people attending. Under most circumstances we are able to accomodate slightly higher numbers.
There is no charge for the required chaperones (one chaperone per group is required). However, all adults beyond the required number will be charged $4.00 each to cover the cost of insurance for each person on campus.
We would like to have four hours of instruction time plus thirty minutes for lunch. Usually classes arrive at 9:30 and leave at 2:00. However, we can change these times to meet your needs. We are flexible and can start and end to fit your bus schedule and school day.
Students should bring their own lunch and proper clothing for outdoor studies.
Because of the emphasis on field studies, students should come prepared to be outside. We will go out rain, snow, or shine. We are blessed at Au Sable by not having poison ivy or many mosquitoes. However, for the few mosquitoes that do show up on warm spring days we recommend long pants and long sleeves. This is a much better protection against mosquitoes than insect repellent. Please contact our environmental education coordinator Paul Wiemerslage if you have questions about attire or what to bring (firstname.lastname@example.org or 231-587-8686).
The Environmental Education Internship Program runs for 4-7 weeks (depending on the session) in the Fall, Winter, and Spring. Au Sable provides housing, interns stay in one of our on-site houses on campus. During the internship, we also provide interns with a living stipend ($200/week) to cover food and other expenses during your internship.
Environmental Education utilizes direct experiences in the outdoors to teach about scientific and environmental concepts. Keystoning this approach is an emphasis on place-based learning which strives to introduce students and participants to broader scientific concepts through an exploration of relevant local environments. Through this experiential approach, Environmental Education or "EE" seeks to connect people to the natural world in effect creating a more environmentally conscious group of citizens while also helping teachers and students meet state and national science benchmarks.
Since 1977 Au Sable's EE program has led over 120,000 northern Michigan students in field studies from our learning center near Mancelona, MI. For a full range of program details and study topics visit our Environmental Education page by clicking here.
Yes, Au Sable welcomes volunteer participation on campus, which will depend upon the time of year your retreat is held and the type of group attending. Please contact Bob Barr email@example.com or call (231) 587-8686 to determine how your group could volunteer at Au Sable.
A retreat can be scheduled during the months of September, October, February and March for any day of the week. Typically, retreats begin Friday evening and end Sunday afternoon. We have bunk-style dorms for up to 40 people, and the cost for a two-night retreat is $80/person. A detailed description of our facilities and opportunities can be found on our Conferences and Retreats page.
Au Sable has a beautiful beach house on Big Twin Lake located a half mile from the main campus. It is a spacious 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath, and 2 kitchen house that is available for small groups for $100/day.
Au Sable has an abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities. Recreational activities depend upon the season. Au Sable has miles of trails, a large, open ball field, and beachfront property on Big Twin Lake. Winter activities include cross-country skiing on six miles of groomed ski trails, broom ball, sledding, and ice fishing. Spring and fall activities include volleyball, canoeing and kayaking on Big Twin Lake, hiking, soccer, ultimate frisbee, basketball, softball, running, biking, and tennis. Our Lodge has two fireplaces, a small kitchen, and tables for board games.
Stewardship, as we use the term, refers to our Biblical calling to be caretakers of the physical world God has made. Bob Barr is available as a resource for groups in planning their retreats around this theme.