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February 2022


Students arrive for the summer at the University of Michigan Biological Station (UMBS) with various levels of apprehension, excitement, and curiosity. What do I want to do with my life? Who do I want to be? Will these six credits enable me to graduate on time? Am I really living this close to the woods?

In fact, I’d guess many students who arrive at UMBS are still uncertain about what they want their futures to look like. I hope that over the course of their time with us we decrease the apprehension (the cabins aren’t that bad), turn their nervousness into enthusiasm (I get to LIVE here), and significantly dial up their curiosity (wait, why is that squirrel behaving that way?).

I like to think that UMBS is in the business of creating students who – across the diverse content area we teach, from the humanities to the sciences – leave UMBS with a curiosity about the world that they didn’t have, or didn’t know how to engage with, when they arrived. We train students who can explore complex questions – students who are often surprised at just how enriching it is to put a name to features of their natural surroundings. Students who decide to put the environment at the center of their future plans. 

This spring and summer, we are offering a diversity of classes – from art, to agroecology, to field mammalogy, and pharmaceutical discovery – that challenge students to be curious about the environment. Our courses are filling up with undergraduates who already love field biology, and those who may not yet anticipate the possibilities that a foundation in environmental studies will bring.

I’m excited for you to read the following story about Amber Brewer, who first came to UMBS because she needed chemistry credits to check a box for her major. Two summers later, Amber is finishing her degree in public health and chemistry and is excited to start graduate work in environmental health science. I’m excited to see where her degree, and UMBS experience, take her.

UMBS creates environmental leaders. It’s a legacy that I am incredibly proud of and one we are looking to expand in the coming years. I’d love to hear your UMBS stories and any ideas you may have on building and expanding our programming going forward. Please, be in touch. 


Dr. Aimée Classen

UMBS Director