Susan Soli

My proposal is not a typical research project.  Instead it is about exploring an area that should be important to Grand Valley, The Ravines.  I visited the Ravines alone, with Professor Krohmer, with my husband Ken, and with two of my children.  All of these visits gave me different insights into the Ravines, and how they are viewed by others.  Talking with others gave me still more perspectives about the Ravines.

Each time I visited the Ravines, I would use my compact tape recorder to remind me about what I feel, see, smell, and hear as I wandered the paths available.  Using a tape recorder was much easier than trying to write and walk at the same time, or having to stop each time I wanted to make a note of something.  I was able to bring home the chirping birds, rustling leaves, and other sounds I heard in the Ravines.  When I returned home, I was able to use these verbal notes to completely write about my experience. 

As I wrote, I reflected more on my experience in the Ravines, and how complex they are.  When I began this project, I had no idea how extensive the Ravines were, but now stand in awe of this wonderful area Mother Nature created, and we must now care for.  The trees are older than Grand Valley is, standing over a hundred feet tall.  There is a wide variety of wildlife in the Ravines.  I watched robins scrambling for bugs on the forest floor, and black squirrels scampering up trees.  On one trip over a dozen garter snakes sunned themselves along the path.  I discovered that the runoff from the Grand Valley parking lots is funneled into the Ravines, and although not illegal, can affect the water that flows into the Grand River, and eventually into Lake Michigan.  This runoff can also increase the erosion in the Ravines.          

The photographs Professor Krohmer took show still more of the special aspects the Ravine contains.  The black and white photos capture a moment in time that will never be exactly the same again.  Taken together, my words and Professor Krohmers photographs show reasons why the ravine should remain for future generations.

Faculty Mentor: Stan Krohmer

Page last modified July 14, 2009