News & Resources


Announcing Au Sable’s Newest Course, Field Techniques in Wetlands!

Jan 26, 2018

More than half of all wetlands in the US have been destroyed by humans and our call as Christian stewards is to protect and restore God's creation.  A key foundation for this is to understand the significance of wetlands within the ecosystem.  Humans typically see wetlands as un-useable and therefore think of them as worthless and not needed. However, in Au Sable’s newest course, Field Techniques in Wetlands, taught by Covenant College’s Dr. Heath Garris, students will learn about how wetlands play a pivotal role in natural environments and explore perspectives on land ownership, use, and service from a biblical call to stewardship. 

“Wetlands are highly regulated in the US,” explains Heath, “and there are many jobs available for students with skills in wetland habitat delineation and assessment. This course is intended to give students a background in the US regulatory framework for wetlands, and build hard skills that will make graduates competitive for entry-level positions in environmental consulting.   

Dr. Garris is an Assistant Professor of Biology at Covenant College and an expert in field ecology, research design, and botanical classification and has a passion for environmental stewardship and sharing the study of God’s earth with students. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Furman University, a Master’s of Science in Biology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and a Ph.D. in Integrated Bioscience from the University of Akron.

“I am really excited about working with students to develop a habitat assessment for the Upper Manistee Headwaters Preserve, where students will simultaneously learn and apply field skills to this ecosystem and the data they collect will help set monitoring and management goals for the preserve,” explained Dr. Garris.

Field Techniques in Wetlands will provide valuable field ecology skills both in wetland ecology and conservation. The course will be a comprehensive overview of wetland ecosystem processes, values, legislation and quantification where students will learn in the context of a very interdisciplinary approach and be immersed in field methods and survey designs for soil, water and vegetation, national protocols for wetland delineation, and how to collect and process environmental DNA for further testing.  Students will have the opportunity to learn in the field in various ecosystems local to the Institute such as Beaver Pond on campus, Upper Manistee Headwaters Preserve, and Grass River Natural Area.

For young professionals, acquiring the field skill for working in and studying wetlands will be valuable to employers. Organizations and companies involved in wetland regulation are all seeking the skills that are taught in this class. Study Field Techniques in Wetlands with Au Sable and Dr. Garris to not only fulfill requirements for your program of study, but also become well equipped for employment post-graduation.

“I am excited to have Dr. Garris teaching this wetlands course at Au Sable,” says Dr. Brian Keas, Director of Educational Development at Au Sable. “His expertise ranges from the small scale of environmental DNA to the expansive landscape level and use of satellite imagery in understanding wetland ecosystems and he is passionate about using his experience to share God’s call to care for His creation. Students in this course will learn valuable skills in wetland conservation and ecology that will make them effective stewards of these important habitats. The knowledge and skills will provide the opportunity for careers in serving and protecting these crucial ecosystems.”


Register Today! 

For more details about Field Techniques in Wetlands, click here