Robert B. Annis Field Station campaign reaches goal

Grand Valley State University researchers and students have already begun important experiments involving Michigan’s freshwater resources and the Great Lakes this summer, thanks to the efforts of more than 220 donors who, in just one year, made the completion of Grand Valley’s new Robert B. Annis Field Station possible.

The campaign to support the Robert B. Annis Field Station raised more than $2.32 million in private funds and included gifts from a wide variety of Grand Valley supporters, community members, and those passionate about the health and well-being of Michigan’s lakes and streams, and the plants and animals that call them home. The lead gift in the campaign was given by the Community Foundation for Muskegon County.

The new Robert B. Annis Field Station will offer students and researchers 14,700 square feet of research laboratories, offices, mesocosm tanks, a boat loading bay, and secure storage. The new facility is state of the art, and has spaces for year-round research — something that was not possible in the old, unheated facility. The building and facilities will allow students and researchers to take on the emerging issues facing the Great Lakes region today, and will help position West Michigan as a leader in the blue economy.

The building has been designed and built to meet stringent LEED certification standards by using materials and systems that were selected for their durability, sustainability, energy efficiency, and their ability to decrease long-term maintenance and operations costs.

The new field station is named after Robert B. (Bob) Annis, a scientist, inventor, business leader and philanthropist. As the leader of R.B. Annis Co., Annis produced a variety of pieces of equipment for police and military use. A lover of nature, Annis also founded the D.J. Angus-Scientech Educational Foundation, in honor of the man who served as his mentor early in life. Annis became an active supporter of science programs at Grand Valley, including financial support of one of the university’s research vessels, the D.J. Angus. The Water Resources Institute was named after him in 1997. The R.B. Annis  Educational Foundation continues to provide ongoing support for his legacy with the institute, including a generous gift for the Annis Field Station.

The Annis Water Resources Institute on Muskegon Lake includes classrooms, conference areas, analytical labs, research labs, mesocosms, dock space, and ship support. AWRI promotes collaborative research and educational programming and offers research space and equipment to collaborative efforts. As part of its research mission, AWRI operates two research vessels, the D.J. Angus and the W.G. Jackson, and offers the Water Resources Outreach Education Program for K-12 schools and community groups.