News & Resources


Harold Snyder 2017 Fellowship – Benjamin VanDyke

May 30, 2017

Congratulations to Benjamin VanDyke the 2017 recipient of the Harold Snyder Fellowship which was created in 2014, the 50th anniversary of when Dr. Snyder, Au Sable’s Founder first brought college students from Taylor University to Au Sable, which was then a Trails Camp for Boys. The fellowship provides a US $3000 award to a student who shares the values of Dr. Harold Snyder, combined with exceptional academic ability and a passion for science teaching as part of their career goals.

Benjamin VanDyke, the 2017 recipient of the Fellowship, will be entering his senior year at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan this fall where he is an Environmental Biology Major. This summer Ben will be studying Land Resources and Animal Ecology during Summer Session I, then Wildlife Ecology during Summer Session II, both at Au Sables’ Great Lakes (Michigan) Campus.

In his application for the Snyder Fellowship, Ben wrote, “I believe that God’s creation when viewed in a proper way, can lead to a sense of amazement that can only serve to glorify God. From an early age, I have fostered a sense of awe for God’s creation. I do not worship the creation; rather, I look at the creation as a way to redirect praise back to who it is due, that is the Creator himself. That is why I want to pursue a career that involves wildlife and resource management. These things, when discovered and explored by mankind, give credit to their Designer, and leave us speechless at His glory.”

Ryan Williams, Resident Director and Student Training Coordinator at Cornerstone University, worked closely with Benjamin in overseeing his work as a Resident Assistant. In his recommendation of Benjamin, Ryan noted “I visited Benjamin’s room on campus and noticed a poster of the birds of the Midwest. He proceeded to talk with passion for no less than 45 minutes about all of the birds he had seen and his excitement to learn more in his ornithology course. I also know that a White Fir is his favorite of all the conifers. Who has a favorite tree within different categories of trees? Benjamin does. Benjamin is a student who exhibits a desire to glorify Christ and a passion for the world the Lord has created.”

Benjamin comes to Au Sable with a strong background in leadership, knowledge of the natural world, and a passion for sharing that knowledge with others. Through working as a Residence Assistant at his home college, Cornerstone University, a Lab Assistant for the course Introduction to Biology at Cornerstone, and employment as a Naturalist Interpreter at the Mackinac State Historic Parks, Benjamin has sharpened his skills in serving and educating the public and peers about God’s creation and its care. In these traits, Benjamin stands squarely in the legacy of Au Sable’s Founder, Dr. Harold Snyder, who brought this vision and mission to Au Sable even from its earliest years as a summer science camp for junior high boys.

Benjamin holds aspirations to one day work for an organization such as the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the US Forest Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Service or the US National Parks Service. At Au Sable, we hope that the experiences Benjamin will have, the outstanding faculty he will learn from, and the remarkable people he will meet among his fellow students will all be God’s gifts to him toward a great career in serving and protecting God’s earth.

Benjamin, congratulations on being named the 2017 Harold Snyder Fellow! We look forward to having you study with the Au Sable Institute and are glad to be a part of your journey towards your wildlife management and conservation career goals.