Beaver Island Field School: Place Matters

Students participating in this immersive field school will gain an understanding of sustainability as it relates to the environment, culture, and economy in one of Michigan’s most ecologically diverse places - Beaver Island. Students will learn about the rich history of the island, engage with community partners, attend Beaver Island's 9th Annual Sustainability Fair and complete a collaborative group project.

Led by Dr. Kelly Parker and Dr. Rebecca Williams this hybrid course includes a 1-day orientation on Allendale Campus, then a week of online learning, followed by a week on Beaver Island, where students will reside in cabins at the CMU Biological Station

Offered Spring/Summer 2024, the class will depart from GVSU and ride the ferry from Charlevoix, MI to Beaver Island over Lake Michigan and return to Allendale Campus a week later. 


Participants of the 2022 Beaver Island Field School standing in front of Lake Michigan holding a Beaver Island flag

Course Details

  • Semester Offered: Spring/Summer 2024
  • Course Title/Number: ENS 380.01 Beaver Island Field School: Place Matters (CRN 41775)
  • Credits: 3
  • Instruction: Hybrid
  • Capacity: 12 students
  • Dates: June 9 - June 30, 2024 
    Class meets June 9 on Allendale Campus for a 2-hour orientation, online (asynchronous) June 10- June 14, on Beaver Island June 16- June 23, with an additional week of (asynchronous) time thereafter for students to complete their final projects.
  • Instructor: Dr. Kelly Parker, Professor of Environmental and Sustainability Studies and Philosophy, and Dr. Rebecca Williams, Assistant Professor of Integrative, Environmental, and Global Studies
  • Prerequisites: Instructor permission; permit required. Applications will be reviewed starting March 12th, with students informed of enrollment decisions by March 19th. If more students apply than the program is able to accommodate, preference will be given to ENS students with junior or senior standing. Waitlist decisions will be announced as positions become available, through May.
  • Course Fee: $900. Like other experiential learning courses, enrollment in the Beaver Island Field School requires a course fee to assist in covering the costs of lodging, meals, transportation, and activities. This is in addition to the cost of tuition.  
  • Fulfillment: For ENS majors and minors, this course can be used to fulfill any Social/Cultural Perspectives requirement. Alternatively, students pursuing an ENS minor may apply this course as an additional upper-level elective.

Outdoor Adventures

Forests on Beaver Island

Community-Based Learning

Aerial view of Lake Michigan and the shores of Beaver Island

Island Beauty

Sunset over Lake Michigan with a wooden dock in the forefront


Contact: Kelly Parker, PhD
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 616-331-3257

Page last modified April 15, 2024