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Guide to Living at the Station

The University of Michigan Biological Station is committed to creating a safe and inclusive culture of engaged learning and scientific study where each individual feels a sense of belonging and well-being. In practice, this means treating each person, non-human being, and the environment with respect. All researchers, students, instructors, staff, and guests are expected to follow the U-M Biological Station Code of Conduct.

All students are also expected to acknowledge and follow the University of Michigan’s Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities and familiarize themselves with the UMBS Sexual Harassment, Assault, and Discrimination policy.

Living & Working at the U-M Biological Station

Applying to live or work at the Biological Station

The U-M Biological Station is a living-learning community home to students, faculty, researchers, and staff. Apply to live or work at the Biological Station through MField at least 2 weeks prior to your scheduled arrival:

You must arrive and depart on the dates indicated on your form or notify us of any changes at least 2 weeks in advance.

Arriving at the Biological Station

All residents and visitors must check-in at the Administrative Office in the center of camp upon arrival & departure. Plan to arrive when the office is open, 8am - 5pm Monday-Friday, to receive housing & parking assignments. If you arrive when the office is closed, housing assignments are posted on the wall next to the office.

Travel to UMBS

Allow approximately 4 hours of travel time if you are driving from Ann Arbor (routes and maps). If you are unable or do not wish to drive yourself, transportation via U-M vans may be available by previous arrangement with us.  

If you are traveling by bus or air to Pellston, we can arrange to pick you up if given sufficient notice. Please email well ahead of your arrival date with your travel information. If you arrive at other destinations, you will need to provide your own transportation to the Biological Station.

Parking & Driving

To maintain the unique atmosphere of camp, driving through camp is not allowed unless absolutely necessary, and speed limits are not to exceed 10 MPH. Parking is assigned for visitors and residents upon arrival. Please park only in your assigned space and display your parking permit in the front window. Do not park near cabins or labs. Your cooperation keeps the dust down and creates a safer and more pleasant environment for all.

Housing and Daily Living Logistics

Biological Station residents live in the nearly 100 cabins or in three residence buildings. Students usually live in one-room, 2- or 3-person rustic cabins, with central shower and toilet facilities. Specific roommate requests must be mutual and are honored insofar as possible. Families are generally assigned larger cabins with attached baths. Housing is furnished with the essential furniture only (twin beds, desks, chairs, lamps). All residents are responsible for keeping their own accommodations clean.

Climate & What to Bring

Northern Michigan has an invigorating climate. Plan to bring warm bedding and clothing for cool and sometimes damp weather. Expect some rain and cooler weather, especially in the spring. During the summer months, temperatures usually range from 50-80 degrees Fahrenheit (10-22 degrees Celsius).

Life is informal at the Biological Station. Clothing should be chosen for comfort and with changing weather in mind. Bring clothes you can layer and sturdy shoes to wear in streams, bogs, etc. Review the UMBS recommended packing list to prepare for your time at camp.

Camp Store

The Camp Store stocks a few items for sale, including water bottles, mugs, postcards, and t-shirts. All items must be purchased with a credit card; there is no ATM or cash back. Office and store hours will always be updated outside the Administrative building. 

Quiet Hours & Noise

Because of demanding study schedules and the close community lifestyle, quiet hours are from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. Any activities during these hours must be quiet and not disruptive. Please respect the varied schedules of other residents and be considerate of your neighbors. Noise and music should not be audible outside your cabin.

Laundry Facilities

High-efficiency washers and dryers are in the laundry building near the dorm. You can pay ($1.00/load) with quarters or using the PayRange app. There are also clothes-lines behind the dorm for energy-efficient drying.  Bring laundry detergent and clothespins.


Families of faculty, staff, and students are an integral part of the Biological Station community. Responsibility for the conduct and safety of children belongs to the parents; UMBS cannot assume responsibility. Children may not be left unattended. A responsible adult in camp should always be accountable for minors. The Station tries to be as helpful as possible in maintaining safe and enjoyable conditions for families, but does not provide child care.


Because of the close community living style and surrounding natural habitats, pets are not permitted at the Station. Year-round residents may keep inconspicuous pets with permission of the Director. Be sure your guests are aware of the "no pets" policy.


Your guests are welcome to visit you at the Station, but should check-in with the office for parking and plan to leave before 10:00 p.m. Overnight guest accommodations may be available for a nominal fee during spring or summer session for guests with business at the Biological Station. Casual guests should plan to stay at local motels. Guest accommodations are available in Cheboygan, Levering, Pellston, Petoskey, and Mackinaw City. 

Your guests are welcome to eat with you in the dining hall for a per-meal charge. Meal tickets can be purchased in the store prior to meals. 

Please advise your guests that camping, picnics, pets, and recreational motor boating are not allowed at the Biological Station. Stay-overs in student cabins are not permitted. Unregistered visitors will pay guest fees accordingly.


For safety and emergency purposes, if you are going to be absent from camp overnight, please inform someone in the administration office. 


Cell phone coverage at the Station is generally good, but can be a little spotty. Courtesy phones (located in the Dorm Lounge and Lakeside Lab) are available for incoming calls, free local calls, or for use with a phone card or reversing charges for long-distance. Office phones are for business use and emergencies only.


U.S. mail is delivered once a day Monday through Saturday. Each resident at the Station will have a mailbox located in the Mailroom, which is next to the Store. Residents must make their own arrangements for pick-up and payment of outgoing shipments of UPS, FedEX, etc. Your mailing address while at the Station will be:

(Your Name)


9133 Biological Road

Pellston, MI 49769


The Dining Hall is located on the second floor of the Administrative Building. The area outside the front of the Administrative Building is the social center of the Biological Station, where people gather for meals, mail, shopping at the store, volleyball, or simply to hang out.


Breakfast 7-8:30 am
Lunch 11:30 am-12:30 pm
Dinner 5-7 pm
*Sunday Brunch (served in place of lunch) 10:30-11:30 am


The dining hall serves three meals/day Mondays through Saturdays, and two meals (brunch and dinner) on Sundays.

Every meal includes vegetarian and vegan options.

For purposes of planning, it is important that you sign out on the bulletin board near the dining room door for meals that you will miss. (We cannot give refunds for absences, however.) Residents are responsible for meal costs for their guests. Meal tickets can be purchased in the office prior to meals. 

Field Lunches

If you need to pack a lunch to take into the field (your instructor will tell you if you do), make your own lunch in the Dining Hall during breakfast. Provisions are made for each person to have two sandwiches, one piece of fruit, two cookies, and a serving of the relishes. Please do not use more than your share so that there will be enough for everyone. You should bring your own thermos or beverage container for class field trips. If you’d like to conserve the use of throwaway paper products, you may bring your own plastic lunchbox/bag and reusable containers.

Health and Safety

The UMBS Health Service is in a cabin near the center of camp, across from the Administrative Building. It is open 24-hours/day with the nurse’s hours posted outside. Report health care needs to the Station nurse, administration office, and/or your faculty. The Health Service Nurse provides only first aid and routine assistance for residents. Residents are responsible for their own health care expenses and must carry their own health insurance.

Spring/Summer Student Insurance (OPTIONAL)

There is insurance coverage available for U-M students participating in classes away from Ann Arbor. It is through the Blue Cross Blue Shield Network and is the only U-M domestic student health insurance plan (DSHIP), unless you are on an F1 or J1 visa or U-M Gradcare.


By state law and with respect for the environment and other residents, smoking is not permitted on UMBS property. 

Alcohol & Drug Policies

Illegal behaviors involving alcohol (e.g. underage drinking, drinking and driving) are prohibited. Alcohol is not to be present or consumed in public areas or events (labs, classrooms, vehicles, boats, beach, etc.). Legal consumption is allowed within (not outside) residence cabins.

The University of Michigan is a "drug-free workplace.” Possession, sale and/or use of illicit drugs are not acceptable, nor is excessive or illegal use of prescription medications. Additional information is available in our Community Living Standards.

Swimming, Boating, and Fire Safety

Please see "Recreation and Activities" for more information.

Recreation and Activities

Outdoor recreation opportunities are abundant at the Biological Station and in the region. Douglas Lake has a clean, sandy beach and is excellent for swimming, sailing, and fishing. Recreational motorboats are out of place at the Station because of their potential to disturb research sites and the quiet study environment.

A network of hiking trails lead to Burt Lake, the Gorge, Pine Point, Grapevine Point, Carp Creek, and other attractive sites nearby. Northern Michigan abounds in attractions. The Straits of Mackinac area, settled over 300 years ago, includes historic Mackinac Island, St. Ignace, and Fort Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City. Wilderness State Park on Lake Michigan is about 20 miles from the Station.

Social Events

During the spring and summer sessions, UMBS sponsors various social events, such as dances, picnics and talent shows for all camp residents. Volleyball, softball, basketball, and swimming are popular activities. Residents often organize events such as movie or game nights. Information on these activities are posted on the stairway outside the Dining Room.


Open fires, grills, cookouts and camping are not permitted on Biological Station property. Public campgrounds are located nearby.


Douglas Lake is ideal for swimming, but please use safety precautions. Be aware that there is a steep drop-off a short distance from the camp shore. Swimming should be confined to areas near camp. Any swimmer attempting a long-distance swim must be accompanied by a boat with two occupants. Children must always be under observation of a responsible adult.


Station-owned canoes are for general use when available. Paddles and life jackets are stored with the canoes. Each person MUST wear a life-jacket (in the past, boaters without life-jackets have been ticketed by the DNR). Return all boats and life jackets to their proper areas immediately after use. You may also bring your own kayak or canoe.

Only boats with approved lights may be used on the lake from dusk to dawn. Motorboats are for class and research use by reservation only. No speedboats or personal watercraft may be launched from or docked at UMBS. All exceptions must be pre-approved by either the Associate Director or Director.

Equipment, Resources and Maintenance

Motor Pool

UMBS maintains vehicles for class, REU, and administrative use only. UM mini-vans are not available for research or personal use.


Some years, the Station has a Zipcar in camp. It is a vehicle that Zipcar members can reserve and use on an hourly-fee basis. UMBS is simply a host site and is not responsible for the Zipcar. Any questions about Zipcar should be directed to the Zipcar company.
Note: many universities, including the University of Michigan offer discounted memberships.


There are two computer centers at the Station. They are equipped with both Apple and PC computers. They are open to all UMBS residents. The center in 1052 Lakeside Lab is primarily for researchers; the one in LaRue Lab is for students. 

If you choose to bring your personal computer, you should keep it in your own cabin unless you have research space assigned to you. We recommend using a power surge protector. Although we have no history of theft, the Station cannot assume responsibility for the security of your belongings. 

Wireless connection is available in most of the camp, including the Lecture Hall, Dorm Lounge, Library; the Wi-Fi in the cabins can be a bit spotty due to the location and structure of the cabins.


Requests for cabin/dorm repairs, firewood, pest control, etc. should be made on a Maintenance Request Form available in the Administration Office. 

Equipment & Supplies

Equipment and supplies for students and researchers may be checked out from the Stockroom in Lakeside Lab.

Policy on Collecting Specimens

The organisms of the region constitute the prime reason for maintaining a biological station, and they must be conserved. Collecting must be limited to minimum needs. Collecting for commercial use, for class or museum use elsewhere, or for transfer to others is strictly forbidden, except when special arrangements have been made with the Director. Individuals must also obtain appropriate Federal and State collecting permits.

In collecting for scientific use, both on and off Station property, take care to avoid depleting the region and altering habitats. Never take more than enough specimens to satisfy your immediate scientific needs, as approved by the professor in whose area of interest the organisms lie. Do not collect any plant or vertebrate specimens or lymnaeid snails in areas close to the center of camp or in the shoal in front of the camp. 

Some plants and animals are protected by Michigan or federal law and must not be picked for any purpose. Others are so rare that the no-picking rule applies on Station property.