This summer the Institute has been honored to have two land management environmental fellows. Corey Lucas, biology major from Western Michigan University and Hana Christoffersen, a biology major from Grand Valley State University are working at the Institute this summer to learn land and property management. Both are very enthusiastic about their time at the Institute and have learned a great deal from this experience.
How did you hear about the Institute?
Corey: “I had hiked the trails at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute with my wife and daughter somewhat regularly and later learned of this opportunity through my ecology professor at Western Michigan, Dr. Steve Malcolm.”
Hana: “I served as Gordon Art Fellow last year, so I heard about this Fellowship from Head of Stewardship, Jen Howell.”
Why do you love nature and science?
Corey: “I have always enjoyed outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, camping, and hiking. Nature has always given me sanctuary, and spending time in it often gives me a necessary respite from life’s stresses.”
Hana: “I love what this land has to offer. It is beautiful, inspiring, and is a great teaching tool, too. What’s not to love?”
Tell me more about your final project.
Corey: “It will be developing a land management plan for the wetland portions of the newly acquired Jones Property. My hopes are that I can help develop a plan that will aid the Institute staff with protecting and improving the wetland habitat on the property now and in the future.”
Hana: “It will be a portion of the Jones Property Management Plan that will address the restoration of the open fields and prairies.”
What do you hope to learn from the program?
Corey: “I hope to learn techniques for land management that will benefit me as a wildlife manager. Skills and techniques like chain sawing, herbicide/ pesticide application, prescribed fire, plant identification, management plan development, and habitat restoration are just some things I have learned that I know I will use in my career.”
Hana: “I hope to be exposed to new research methods, accrue tangible job skills, and take what I learned from this experience with me in to the classroom and beyond.”
What is your favorite location at the Institute?
Corey: “The observation deck overlooking the Cedar Creek flooding just off the blue trail. The early morning or late evening is a great time to sit out there and watch the wood ducks, mallards, sandhill cranes, great blue heron and more!”
Hana: “I love the Beech Forest Trail. The stately beech trees and quiet calls from nearby birds are mesmerizing to me.”