Environmental Studies


GLISTEN cluster goals:

The goal of our  project is to establish a robust environmental stewardship and education network for Greater Grand Rapids that will bring together faculty, undergraduate students, and community partners. Our consortium of three colleges (Grand Valley State University, Calvin College, and Muskegon Community College) and four environmental organizations (West Michigan Environmental Council, West Michigan Land Conservancy, Blandford Nature Center, and Muskegon Conservation District) will focus on undergraduate curriculum development efforts related to land cover and land-use changes (LCLUC) and ecosystem restoration in West Michigan. The project will build the capacity of STEM faculty to significantly increase understanding of environmental science and geospatial technologies by engaging undergraduate students in direct action and community-based research. Curriculum development efforts will be carefully coordinated among the partner institutions and aligned with the needs community-based organizations. Internships and field-based courses will prepare students for “green” professional opportunities emerging from the Great Lakes restoration projects, and will provide them with scientific knowledge necessary to become enlightened stakeholders.
Partner Organizations and Cluster Administration/Functioning:
West Michigan GLISTEN cluster includes three higher education institutions and four community-based environmental organizations.
1.      Grand Valley State University is a comprehensive public university serving more than 24,400 students. It has campuses in Allendale, Grand Rapids, and Holland and regional centers in Muskegon and Traverse City. The Environmental Studies program brings together faculty from Biology, Natural Resources Management, Geography and Planning, Geology, Engineering, Chemistry, Anthropology, Economics, Hospitality and Tourism, Psychology, Sociology, and Political Science departments, Sustainable Community Development Initiative, and Annis Water Resources Institute. 
Representatives: Dr. Elena Lioubimtseva (Environmental Studies Program/Geography and Planning Department), Dr. Janet Vail (Annis Water Resources Institute).
2.      Calvin College. CC is a comprehensive private liberal arts college serving 4,000 students located in Grand Rapids.
Representatives: Dr. David Koetje, Biology; Dr. Gail Heffner, Office of Community Engagement.
3.      Muskegon Community College. MCC is a 2-year college with enrollment over 5,000 students located near Lake Michigan shore in Muskegon about 34 miles from downtown Grand Rapids.
Representatives: Ms. Theresa Vanveelan (Life Science Department).
4.      West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC) is a Grand Rapids- based environmental organization that focuses on two key areas: building sustainable communities and protecting water resources throughout West Michigan. 
Representative: Rachel Hood, Executive Director
5.      The Land Conservancy of West Michigan (LCWM), Grand Rapids, protects natural and scenic lands. To date, it has permanently protected nearly 7,000 acres of West Michigan's forests, fields, wetlands and dunes in a service area that includes all or parts of Allegan, Kent, Ottawa, Newaygo, Muskegon, Oceana, Mason and Lake Counties. 
Representative: Melanie Manion, Stewardship Coordinator.
6.      Blandford Nature Center owns 143 acres of land and wildlife surrounded by urban development in Grand Rapids. BNC’s mission is to provide education and community programs that educate our community to understand our environment, our heritage, and our connection to natural systems, engage people to actively use natural spaces and adopt sustainable practices, and empower people to embrace nature and new perspectives. 
Representatives: Annoesjka Steinman, Executive Director; Kristin Tindall, Education Director.
7.      Muskegon Conservation District will coordinate the restoration projects at the White Lake and Muskegon Areas of Concern (AOC).
Representative: Mr. Jeffrey Auch, Director.


Page last modified March 14, 2014