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How Au Sable Trails Became Au Sable Institute: A Weekend with Cal DeWitt

Feb 24, 2017

Au Sable’s 2017 Alumni Reunion will be a unique and one of a kind event as the Institute celebrates the Au Sable Community through a weekend of honoring its founding Director, Dr. Calvin B. DeWitt. Professor at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Cal led Au Sable through its transition from that of a science camp and field station to its current identity as the Au Sable Institute, a world-renowned center for study and education in creation care. One of the “Founding Fathers” of the Christian environmental stewardship movement, Cal’s contributions to the development of a biblical theology of creation care, an educational curriculum of Christian environmental study, and a community of Christian scientists, teachers, and activists engaged in Christian environmental stewardship are unparalleled. You will not want to miss this truly historic Reunion as we honor Cal and his contributions to Au Sable.

The Event: The Reunion itself will begin on Friday evening, August 4 and continue through Saturday evening, August 5, but will be preceded by two other events. On Thursday, August 3, the Institute will host a special Symposium of Recognition for Cal, with notable speakers making presentations honoring Cal for his contributions in environmental education, stewardship theology, and building Christian community. On Thursday afternoon, Cal will lead the weekly Integration Day for students and faculty in Summer Session II, a fitting role for Cal who pioneered the concept of the Integration Day at Au Sable as a means of integrated learning of science and faith through direct investigation of God’s creation. On Friday morning, current and former members of the Institute’s Board of Trustees will make presentations honoring Cal, and will formally dedicate the Calvin B. DeWitt library, a collection of Cal’s writings and publications that will be housed at the Institute from this time forward. The Alumni Reunion will begin with the Alumni Reunion Dinner on Friday night, with Cal as the Featured Speaker.

On Saturday, as in past reunions, there will be opportunities to reconnect with old friends and make new ones, engage in field trips and service projects, learn more about the state of the Institute, and hear from and interact with Cal. The end of the Reunion will be celebrated with a community Picnic Lunch at the Pines Cottages on Big Twin Lake.

Your Choices: Although the designated Alumni and Friends Reunion Event will begin Friday evening, interested alumni and friends may make reservations to attend the Symposium and Board Recognition events on Thursday and Friday. If you choose to attend the entire Celebration (Symposium and Reunion), prepare to enjoy Friday as a day of personal exploration and reconnecting with the Au Sable landscape. Visit Sleeping Bear Dunes, Hartwick Pines, Grass River, Mackinaw City, the Jordan River Valley (Michigan’s First Wild and Scenic River) or a host of other places that will soothe your spirit and excite your imagination. Be back at 6:30 pm for dinner and the start of the alumni reunion events!

Housing and Accommodations: Because this year’s Alumni and Friends Reunion will take place in the midst of an active Summer Session, on-campus housing will not be available for Reunion registrants. The Institute will be making arrangements with local hotel, motel, and campground operators for discount rates during the Reunion dates. The Institute will also provide up to 20 on-campus campsites for a fee of $20 per night for registrants desiring to camp on the Au Sable grounds during these activities. On-campus camping will be closed when the limit of 20 camping groups is reached. 


About Cal DeWitt

Dr. Calvin B. DeWitt is Professor in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The founding Executive Director of the Au Sable Institute from 1979 to 2004, Cal was instrumental not only in the formation of Au Sable as an internationally recognized institute of creation care, but in the development of a biblically-based theology of Christian environmental stewardship. Cal lent his skill and enthusiasm in this effort to international organizations like The World Bank, the United Nations Environmental Programme, stewardship, including the National Wildlife Federation’s "Connie Award" for exceptional service to conservation, the Friends of the United Nations Special Achievement Award for building an environmental institution, the University of Wisconsin’s Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award, and the Forest Steward Award from the National Coalition on Creation Care.  


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See Full Event Schedule Below: