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Courses That Change Your Life: Restoration Ecology (Biol 482)

Posted by Paul Wiemerslage | Dec 02, 2015

Today there is nowhere on Earth that is not touched by human influence, even in places where humans are rarely, if ever present. Yet climate change affects penguins in Antarctica, toxic wastes reach uninhabited islands, and invasive species spread even in wilderness areas. Never has there been as great a need to understand the theory, obtain the skills and gain the experience needed to restore degraded habitats, re-introduce endangered species, and relieve larger-scale ecological stressors in all of Earth’s ecosystems.

Au Sable’s course in Restoration Ecology addresses these issues and tackles these problems. Set in the natural beauty of Au Sable’s Great Lakes Campus in northern Michigan, Restoration Ecology is perfectly placed to show students the juxtaposition of natural function and beauty with the environmental degradation of both from many causes, and in both short- and long-term perspective. Here in the landscape that once held the greatest pine forests of the Upper Great Lakes region, students can see the historic and continuing effects of degradation on many systems caused by logging over one hundred years past. In present context, students see the actual and potential degradations of current oil and natural gas extraction, urban and suburban development, and recreational use on this landscape. With clear understanding of immediate need, students learn the underlying theory and practical skills needed to restore degraded habitats by reducing erosion, revegetating historic and functionally useful plant cover, removing invasive species, and relocating individuals of critical species.

Today academics, national and local governments, Christian missions and development workers, and a growing industry in environmental remediation and restoration are looking for people with the skills offered in Au Sable’s Restoration Ecology course. Skills in restoration ecology can change the world and Au Sable’s course in Restoration Ecology can change your life.


Restoration Ecology 2016 from Au Sable Institute on Vimeo.