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The Statement

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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Visual Statement: Not just a summer camp for scientists

By Erin Kirkland, Managing Photo Editor
Published September 11, 2012

The University of Michigan’s Biological Station has rustic cabins and may be located in Northern Michigan, but the criteria for a stereotypical summer camp ends there.

Founded in 1909, the Bio Station – or Bug Camp, as it’s fondly called – stands true to its original principles as a research facility that allows students to explore their natural surroundings in a field study setting. Here, ecology labs collect parasitic samples from one of the creeks on the 10,000 acres owned by the University, the evolution class is spotted surveying the bog for certain plant specimens, and – in what seems like an offshoot of the Michigan Squirrel Club – the mammology class befriends the local squirrels.

Though saturated in maize and blue pride, the Bio Station is not only restricted to University students and faculty. Students and staff hail from other in-state, national and international institutions. This summer, visiting researchers, students and professors came as far as University of Giessen in Germany.

Now that the station has passed its centennial mark, there’s been a visible push to expand its resources and reputation. While the majority of courses are rooted in biology, the curriculum has stretched to topics such as Environmental Writing and Great Lakes Literature and Urban and Environmental Planning.

“The area has a wonderful historical tradition of literature, and while (the camp) primarily offers biology courses, science is enriched by interactions with other disciplines,” said Knute Nadelhoffer, the station's director.

According to Nadelhoffer, the camp does not have any plans to offer more humanities courses next year due to budget constraints, but he is open to the possibility of more cross-disciplinary classes in the near future.

Bug Camp, after all, is not just for scientists.