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Alumni Event at Fish Lake

Over the past summer 2017, the ENVI Program hosted an alumni/student networking event at Fish Lake. Coordinated by intern Trevor Baker and Dr. Grman, participants had a tour of Fish Lake, lunch, and maintained trails on the property. With a wonderful meal and a well organized trail maintenance plan, students, alumni, and faculty enjoyed their day working together and getting to know one another. We hope to continue this event for years to come. 

Follow Fish Lake on Facebook: Here and Here fish lake group photo


Environmental Science and Society Honors Award Graduation Ceremony 2017

This year we honored our largest batch of graduates yet, along with our Barton scholarship winners and teacher nominated award winners. We are very proud of our graduates, many of them receiving high academic performance awards. The event was hosted at the Ypsilanti Freighthouse and catered by the Ypsilanti Food Co-op that provided us with local, vegan options.2016-2017 grads

March for Science   

ENVI students showed support for facts and science in Ann Arbor. Student staff partnered with the CSIE program for a poster making event before the march and carpooling to the march. science march group photo

Undergraduate Research Symposium 2017

  • Clarissa Crist, Building Geographic Distribution Models of Five Plant Genera on Madagascar. Faculty mentors: Margaret Hanes and William Welsh. Clarissa
    • Madagascar is home to many habitat types that support a vast amount of species diversity. This work aims to describe, for the first time, the geographic distribution of plant species in the Hibiscus tribe (Malvaceae) on this island. Coordinate points were obtained from the labels of 752 herbarium plant specimens, representing 35 species in 5 genera. Using ArcGIS, Ecological Land Unit data, and Maxent, point locality maps and distribution models that include topography, bioclimatic, land cover, and rock type on Madagascar, were built for each species. The resulting maps will be used to calculate species richness, endemism rates, and determine what drives speciation in this group of plants.
  • Jorrie Davis and Megan Wurtz, Analyzing Welfare of Captive Red Crossbills (Loxia curvirostra) in Different Environments. Faculty mentor: Jamie Cornelius. Jorrie
    • Songbirds, like the red crossbill, are commonly kept in captivity. This study investigates the welfare of captive red crossbills by measuring behavioral indicators of stress, such as stereotypies. A stereotypy is a repetitive action that is commonly exhibited by captive animals and is thought to reflect psychological stress. We compare the time red crossbills spent performing stereotypies in different environmental settings and under different feeding regimes. This study may help improve the practice of keeping songbirds through a better understanding of stress in captivity.
  • Jacob Kowalczyk, Joseph Proietti and Richard Wagner, Environmental Variables and Their Effect on Cyanobacteria Populations in 13 Stratified Lakes. Faculty mentors: Jose Vites and Steven Francoeur.
    • Abstract: Global climate change caused by anthropogenic activity is creating conditions that promote the formation of harmful algal blooms by cyanobacteria in many freshwater lakes. The purpose of this study is to quantify the amounts of cyanobacteria in 13 stratified lakes throughout the Huron River Watershed, investigating their correlation to environmental factors (e.g. pH, dissolved oxygen, nutrient concentrations, etc.). Lakes were sampled one to two times a month from May-October, 2016. Results showed correlations between urbanization and increased cyanobacteria. This study increases understanding of what environmental conditions promote and/or limit cyanobacterial growth in temperate lakes.
  • Jennifer Harper, Pinpointing and Mapping Areas for Wetland Restoration in the Western Lake Erie Basin: A GIS Approach. Faculty mentor: Xining Yang. UG Symposium
    • Harmful cyanobacterial algal blooms produce toxins that have substantial impacts on ecological processes of wetlands while carrying socioeconomic and health costs. Warming climate and rising nutrient flow to waterways increase the need for wetland restoration. The objective of this project is to visualize areas where wetland restoration can provide optimal impact on decreasing nutrient flow into the western Lake Erie basin. The use of GIS tools to spatially analyze the relationship between major rivers that flow into the study area and their annual nutrient load reveal several areas in the Maumee River basin that would be ideal locations for environmental buffers and wetland restoration.


  • Robert Keast, Mutualism between Prairie Grasses and Soil Fungi Not Limited by High Phosphorus. Faculty mentor: Emily Grman. Robert
    • Nutrient pollution, like phosphorus from fertilizer, is one of several problems complicating prairie restoration on former croplands. I examined how phosphorus affects the growth of prairie grasses and their mutualisms with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). This was done through a greenhouse experiment in which a variety of prairie grasses were grown in pots either with or without AMF, and at different phosphorus concentrations. I hypothesized that AMF would be detrimental under high phosphorus concentrations. I found that AMF was consistently beneficial regardless of phosphorus concentration. This suggests that phosphorus may not inhibit prairie restoration as much as previously thought.
  • Kelsey Mitchell, Role of Local Adaptation in the Unique Reproduction Mode of Unisexual Ambystoma Salamanders. Faculty mentor: Katherine Greenwald. Kelsey
    • Unisexual (all female) Ambystoma salamanders reproduce via kleptogenesis, in which insemination by a male of another species is necessary to trigger egg development. The zygote can develop asexually or by adding the male’s genome into the fertilized ovum. We used breeding trials and genetic data to determine if unisexual salamanders prefer to include genomes of males from the same breeding pond or more distant ponds. We hypothesized that they would prefer males from more distant ponds as this would increase genetic diversity of the offspring. Preliminary data suggest that our hypothesis was not supported: unisexual females showed a preference towards male genomes from the same pond.
  • Nayeli Sanchez, Effects of Submergence Depths on Swimming Capacity of Sea Lampreys. Faculty mentor: Ulrich Reinhardt. Nayeli
    • Invasive sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) is a fish parasite that has damaged the Great Lakes ecosystem. Since sea lamprey migrate from lakes upstream to spawn, in-stream barriers that prevent passage can help reduce population size. Assessment of swimming kinematics is necessary to understand how lamprey navigate across barriers at various submergence depths. We recorded attempts of sea lampreys to cross wetted ramps varying in water depth and used video analysis to examine whether these differences would allow sea lamprey successful passage. This research may provide insight towards designing a selective barrier that allows native fin-fish upstream passage but denies it to sea lampreys.
  • Adrienne Wayne, No Evidence that Garlic Mustard Inhibits Native Plant Growth in Prairie Restorations. Faculty mentor: Emily Grman. UG Symposium
    • Abstract: Invasive species can suppress native species beyond competing for nutrients and sunlight. Many exude allelopathic chemicals that may influence interactions among native plants. In a greenhouse experiment, I examined whether extract of garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), a common allelopathic invasive, affects competition between prairie plants in a first-year restoration. We found that instead of inhibiting the prairie species, garlic mustard extract gave most a boost in growth and did not influence the outcome of competition.



  • Olivia De Croix, Amber Resseguie and Brandon Bartell, Ceramic Platters. Faculty mentors: Diana Pancioli and Beth Odgen. UG Symposium
    • Abstract: Platter making is facilitated by creating a long extruded shape that creates the form on which the platter slab is laid. The supporting form gives the plate its shape, a well, and a rim. When the plate slab is stiff, it is removed from the support and a foot is added to the bottom. The surface is completed with an historic glaze called Maiolica—the most painterly of glaze techniques. 


GREEN Week 2017

Meatless Monday (3/20) Meatless Monday

In partnership with EMU student organization, VegPlanet, the "Plant-Based Party" involved an evening of discussion surrounding plant-based living, health, the environment, and other veg-related issues. This event covered steps to going vegetarian or vegan, as well as Zero Waste, and how to minimize packaging. There was a raffle basket giveaway and free vegan snacks!

GREEN Hygiene Tuesday (3/21)  GREEN Hygiene

GREEN Week's Tuesday event focused on how to be an informed consumer and what to look for when researching our everyday hygiene products. The event featured a gallery, where attendees were able to see what products others use to be more sustainable in the bathroom. There was a raffle to win some eco-friendly products and there were free lotion DIY giveaways!


Water Wednesday (3/22) Water Wednesday

This day was a celebration of National Water Day! In partnership with EMU Student Government's Energy & Sustainability Commission, GREEN had lobby tables in the Student Center during the morning. These lobby tables provided EMU students with information on how harmful bottled water is to the environment and encouraged people to stop using bottled water by providing them with free reusable water bottles! Later that evening, GREEN attended the Water Summit at Washtenaw Community College, hosted by Students for Sustainability. There was a panel discussion with representatives from Clean Water Action, Food & Water Watch, Flint Rising, and MI State Representative, Yousef Rabhi. 


Energy & Politics Thursday (3/23) Energy & Politics

A new GREEN Week event about Sustainable Energy and Politics related to environmental issues, in partnership with Student Organization, Progressives at EMU! Featured speakers Henry Griffin (Michigan League of Conservation Voters), MI State Representative, Adam Zemke, and Nuclear Engineer, Molly Ulrich. The speakers discussed the importance of activism for clean energy in the Trump Era, recent energy policy in Michigan, and nuclear energy as a sustainable energy source.


Food Justice Friday (3/24) Food Justice

In partnership with Food Recovery Network's EMU chapter, this event provided a free showing of the movie "Food Chains". A movie that reveals the human cost in our food supply and the complicity of large buyers of produce like fast food and supermarkets. After, there was a thoughtful discussion about the movie and food justice issues, which included the perspectives from EMU faculty, Dr. Michael Scoville and Dr. Tricia McTague. Information material was also provided by A2SFC. 


Bee GREEN Saturday (3/25) Bee Green

This event featured speakers Jamie Berlin, from Ypsi Melissa (local bee organization), and EMU Entomology Professor, Dr. Eisenbach. They spoke about how to be a steward in Ypsilanti, the Bee City, and provided their insight on the life of bees and human interactions. They also offered attendees to try actual honeycombs! Afterward, GREEN members walked over to the campus community garden, the Giving Garden, to perform some maintenance and see some pollinators in action! The garden volunteer event featured ENVI Program Coordinator, Dr. Kovacs, who provided insight into how he composts.


Past Events

Undergraduate Research Symposium 2016

Green Week 2016

Press Releases

Lillian Richards, of West Bloomfield, earns a Presidential Scholarship at Eastern Michigan University; will degree in environmental science

Leah Vanlandingham, of Taylor, earns a Presidential Scholarship at Eastern Michigan University; will pursue a degree in environmental sciencePicture of Jill Dieterle

"Just Food: Philosophy. Justice and Food", edited by ENVI Faculty Affiliate and Philosophy Professor Jill Dieterle was recently published by Rowman and Littlefield. The book presents 12 new philosophical essays, including one authored by Jill Dieterle, that explores the causes and consequences of the inequities of our contemporary food system. The book looks at how food insecurity tracks other social injustices, covering topics such as race, gender and property, as well as food sovereignty, food deserts, and locavorism. The essays in this volume make an important and timely contribution to the wider philosophical debate around food distribution and justice.

Book Information

General Overview of ENVI (Part 1-4)- 2014

Video: ENVI Info Session, Part 1

Part 1 "General Overview of ENVI": Introduces Dr. Kovacs, the program coordinator, and describes the different concentrations/emphasis' students can focus on using the example of a dying pond with loss of aquatic species due to contamination issues from runoff and how each student can use their skills to resolve environmental issues with the pond.

Part 2 "Jobs/Graduate School": Shows the different occupations possible with a degree in Environmental Science, Environment & Society, or Sustainability. Also includes different programs complementary to a degree in ENVI for Graduate School.

Part 3 "ENVI Major Concentrations": Goes further into the program requirements--basic courses, internships, and research projects.

Part 4 "Sustainability Minor": Further describes the new Sustainability Minor--what the required courses are and the four different groups to choose from within the minor. Also includes Q&A period after session.

Information on Internships - 2015

Dr. Thomas Kovacs discusses the internship requirements for ENVI. He demonstrates resources offered on the website the students can use and discussed the Internship Application and Supervisor Evaluation Form.

Internship Videos and Blogs

ENVI Student Blog

ENVI 405 student, Mary Griffiths, has started a blog to document her journey as an intern this summer with the Clinton River Watershed Council. She posts weekly about her internship experience, job tasks, and people that she meets. To follow Mary's story this summer check out her blog  here


Jake Bonello Internship Experience Jake Bonello

Environmental Science (ENVI) student at Eastern Michigan University: Jake's internship experience with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service tracking invasive species and converting an area into a wetland.



Clinton River Watershed Internship- 2014Amanda as summer intern

An ENVI student focusing on Environment & Society, shares her experiences with her internship at the Clinton River Watershed Council. She shares how her experiences helped shape her as a student and prepare her for life after graduation.