News & Resources

Courses That Change Your Life: Animal Ecology (BIOL 321)

Posted by lindsaybarden | Mar 11, 2016

“Lions, tigers, and bears, oh my!”  Ahem..or more accurate for Northern Lower Michigan’s fauna it should read, “skunks, voles, and foxes, oh my!” Few things capture our attention in quite the same way as the animals that inhabit the environment around us, this makes studying animals, their populations, environments and communities an engaging pursuit! Au Sable’s Animal Ecology course during Summer Session II, taught by Dr. Matt Ingle provides a learning experience that is just that. 

‘In the current ecological climate, students are exposed to theoretical constructs and ecological principles on a regular basis. While this type of education is extremely important, students are less acquainted with a basic knowledge of the roles animals play in ecosystems. The Au Sable Animal Ecology course explores this applied side of ecology through hands-on field activities, an intentional focus on learning to identify animal species and their associated environments, and hypothesis testing of local, real-world ecological interactions. This education provides a stronger foundation for theoretical and predictive ecology, as well as preparing students directly for positions as ecological consultants.”

                                                -Dr. Darren Proppe former professor of Animal Ecology 

In Animal Ecology students will have opportunities to work in the field in various local settings of Michigan. In the past, visiting Wilderness State Park, Hartwick Pines State Park and conducting night searches for nocturnal animals, have been highlights of the field experiences offered through this course. Students will come away from this course able to understand ecological systems on a fine scale, recognizing and documenting the players in these systems. This is a skill that will equip future ecologists to assess the successes and problems associated with management regimes. This course provides unique learning opportunities and objectives within a familiar college course set up.

“The content is challenging and moves quickly. But you will be challenged within a community of support where professors and fellow students alike aim to foster your success. The course and general Au Sable community is made up of people like you; students and professors who love everything ecology, who strive to support the conservation of animal diversity, and who view Creation as God’s handiwork.”

                                                 -Darren Proppe

To enroll in Animal Ecology and other Au Sable courses, click here.