Research and Education
Supporting research and education is a primary goal established by the documents governing Asylum Lake Preserve. If you are interested in using Asylum Lake Preserve as your research/project site, please fill out an application.
Current Events, Research, and Field Courses
2011-2014. WMU Biology Deptartment. Dr. Sharon Gill, Dr. Maarten Vonhof and research assistants will take an integrative, individual-level approach to test the hypothesis that animals that inhabit urban environments display altered behavior, health, and fitness compared with animals living in less urbanized landscapes. They will examine (1) singing and nest-building behavior, (2) body condition, hematology and corticosterone levels, and (3) reproductive success of chipping and field sparrows along an urban-rural gradient in southwest Michigan to determine whether these species meet the challenges of living in an urbanized world.
2009-2013. MSU Entomology Study on Switchgrass. Dr. Doug Landis, and Dr. Doug Schemske, MSU. This study proposes to examine how different biofuel crops may affect conservation outcomes. They are looking at the impact of corn, switchgrass and mixed stands of prairie grasses and wildflowers on avian, insect, and microbial communities. The assumption is that well chosen biofuel crops could enhance song and game bird numbers, increase numbers of beneficial insects and favor soil microbes that help reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
(offered yearly) GEOS Hydrogeology Field Course, Michael Durham, WMU. Course emphasizes state-of-the-art techniques for sampling, monitoring, and evaluation of groundwater systems.
(offered bi-yearly) BIOS 5535 Freshwater Ecology. Dr. Steven Kohler, WMU. This course introduces students to standard techniques used in the examination of lentic ecosystems.
(offered yearly) ENVS 2260 Field Environmental Ecology. Dr. Steven Kohler, WMU. Students in this course spend approximately two days at Asylum Lake Preserve assessing forest quality structure using two sampling techniques. They also walk through the Preserve and focus on plant identification.
Past Field Courses at Asylum Lake Preserve
2011, Sept-Dec. GEOS & ENVS Field Enivronmental Geochemistry. Dr. Carla Koretsky, WMU. Project-based field course in which students will design a water quality study and perform water column and sediment sampling at Asylum Lake.
2011, June. GEOS 6130 Wetland Hydrology. Allan Hascall, WMU. Project-based course focusing on wetland delineation and wetland hydrology. A large, wetland delineation project will be completed by the end of the course and includes a written summary of findins as outlined by the MDEQ Wetland Identification Manual.
2010, May. Introduction to Ecology. Jennifer Lau, MSU Kellogg Biological Station. Students in this course spend approximately five days at Asylum Lake Preserve studying the effects of garlic mustard on plant and arthropod community composition.
2009. BIOS 1510 Organismal Biology (Forest Dynamics Lab). Dr. David Karowe, WMU. The objective of this lab is to determine whether the composition of the forest is changing. Students will compare the species composition of mature trees in the forest canopy at Asylum Lake Preserve with that of the understory. Students will survey plots within the forest, identify tree species and measure the diameter-at-breast-height for each tree within the plot.
2008, April. BIOS 1510 Organismal Biology (Forest Dynamics Lab). Dr. Todd Barkman, WMU. The objective of this lab is to determine whether the composition of the forest is changing. Students will compare the species composition of mature trees in the forest canopy at Asylum Lake Preserve with that of the understory. Students will survey plots within the forest, identify tree species and measure the diameter-at-breast-height for each tree within the plot.
2007-2010. BIOS 3010 Ecology. Dr. Stephen Malcolm, WMU. Students will explore 4 laboratory exercies at Asylum Lake Preserve including (1) non-destructive mark, release, recapture of grasshoppers to estimate population size, (2) goldenrod gall densities, (3) tree dispersion, and (4) metapopulation structure of milkweed beetle larvae.
2007, Nov. ANTH 5000 Historical Archaeology, Michael Nassaney, WMU. This course focuses on the methods and theory of historical archaeology.
2007, Sept. GEOG 6200 Biogeography, Dr. Kathleen Baker, WMU. This course is a graduate seminar in physical geography in which students focus on theoretical and applied biogeography.
Past Research at Asylum Lake Preserve
2012, March. Effects of road salt deicers on sediment biogeochemistry. Seon-young Kim & Carla Koretsky. WMU Geosciences.
2011, September. Redox Stratification and Salinization of Three Kettle Lakes in Southwest Michigan, USA. Carla M. Koretsky, Andrew MacLeod, Ryan J. Sibert and Christine Snyder. WMU Geosciences.
2010, July. The Role of Plant-Soil Feedbacks in the Biological Invasion of Acer platanoides and Implications for Native Forests. Jennifer Lau. MSU Kellogg Biological Station.
2010, June. Effects of Long-Term Mowing Treatments on Productivity. Jennifer Lau and Stacey Gray. MSU Kellogg Biological Station.
2009, June. Assessment of soil composition and vegetation survey of Old Field, Forest 1, and Savanna 2 areas of the Asylum Lake Property, Kalamazoo, Michigan. Dr. Charles Ide, Jay Biernat, and research assistants. WMU Biological Sciences. Click here to view a powerpoint presentation on this research.
2009. An Ecological Assessment of the Asylum Lake Preserve. Tyler Bassett, Botanist and Suzie Knoll, Biologist. Native Connections.
2009. An Investigation Into the Validity of the Effective Radius, Re, Value Used in the Bouwer and Rice (1976) Method of Analyzing Slug Test Data. James Niel Couch. WMU Geosciences.
2008. Switchgrass Gene Flow. Jennifer Lau, Kane Keller, and Lauren Bailey, Michigan State University.
2008. The Dynamics of Milkweed Chemical Defense in Response to Chewing and Sucking Insect Herbivores. Derrick Hilton. WMU Biological Sciences.
2008. Water Quality Evaluation of Asylum Lake and Little Asylum Lake With Management Recommendations. Kieser & Associates, LLC.
2005. An Archeological Assessment of the Asylum Lake/Colony Farm Orchard Property in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Rory J. Becker and Michael S. Nassaney.
2001. Western Michigan University: Asylum Lake Property. Historical uses and land cover, natural features inventory, and habitat enhancement recommendations. Kalamazoo Nature Center.
1992. Final project report: Long-term hydrogeological research and educational test site. William A. Sauck and Michael J. Barcelona. Western Michigan University.
1992. Phase I & Partial Phase II Environmental Site Assessment, Asylum Lake, Western Michigan University. Soil & Material Engineers, Inc.
Thesis Projects Completed at Asylum Lake Preserve
Ric Steeves. 2001.The geochemistry of a leaf composting leachate plume, Asylum Lake, Kalamazoo, Michigan. Department of Geosciences, WMU. Degree of Master of Science. Found at Waldo Library, WMU. call number: TD 9999.s83x
Paul Joseph Pare. 1995. A study on the causes of variations in transmissivity and storativity during pump tests at Asylum Lake. Department of Geology, WMU. Degree of Master of Arts. Found at Waldo Library, WMU. call number: GB 9999.P37x
Vincent E. Buening. 1994. Investigations of glacial-drift aquifier-lake interactions using hydrogeology, geochemistry, and stable isotopes at Asylum Lake, Michigan. Department of Geology, WMU. Degree of Master of Science. Found at Waldo Library, WMU. call number: GB 9999.B83x
Bryan K. Allen. 1993. The effects of composting yard wastes on the ground water quality: WMU Farms site, Kalamazoo, Michigan. Department of Geology, WMU. Degree of Master of Science. Found at Waldo Library, WMU. call number: GB 9999.A63x
Fardin Olyaee. 1986. The effects of acid precipitation on two lakes in southwestern Michigan. Degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Division of Science Education, WMU. Found at Waldo Library, WMU. call number: QH 9999.2.049x
Papers Related to Asylum Lake Preserve
1991. Report on the Historic Use of the Property Commonly Known as the Kalamazoo State Hospital Colony Farm, the Michigan State University Agricultural Experiment Orchard, and the Lee Baker Farm. Larry B. Massie.
1983. Stormwater Management in a Small Michigan Watershed. Philip P. Micklin (Western Michigan University) and Thomas Hodler (University of Georgia).
1977. Observations on Asylum Lake, Kalamazoo, Michigan. Joseph G. Engemann. Western Michigan University.
(Date unknown) Non-point source pollution affecting Asylum Lake. Thomas A. Hildebrandt and Jack S. Wood. Western Michigan University.
Books Related to Asylum Lake Preserve
Haven: a treatise on Asylum Lake / Edited by Dok Tael Stevens, illustrations by Ladislav R. Hanka. Spunky Duck Press. Kalamazoo, Michigan. Found at Archives & Regional History, 111 East Hall, WMU. call number: F574.K1 H38x
Past Events and Projects at Asylum Lake Preserve
2011, May-Aug. Garlic Mustard Disposal. Cari DeLong, WMU Landscape Services. A large hole was dug at Asylum Lake to use as a garlic mustard decomposition site. Rather than sending garlic mustard to landfills, plants were buried on-site, as a more environmentally-friendly alternative.
2011, May. AmeriCorps NCCC worked on ecological restoration projects at Asylum Lake Preserve and other WMU Natural Areas.
2011, May. Two hundred student volunteers from the Michigan Church of God pulled garlic mustard at the Preserve.
2011, May. "No Child Left Inside" One hundred twenty-five third graders from four area schools came to Asylum Lake to learn about water ecology, garlic mustard, leadership, and self reflection through outdoor journaling. The event was held in collaboration with the Kalamazoo Nature Center.
2010, Dec. A WMU art student installed her work at Asylum Lake for a short time period.
2010, Nov. "No Child Left Inside" One hundred twenty-five third graders from four area schools came to Asylum Lake Preserve. They rotated between four stations at the Preserve which included book reading, journaling, bird watching, and tree art. The event was held in collaboration with the Kalamazoo Nature Center.
2010, Nov. ROTC. Western Ranger Organization Field Training Exercise (FTX)
2010, Oct. Karen Bondarchuk and art students at WMU created bluebird boxes as part of their required foundation art basic woodworking skills. The boxes are to be installed in the near future.
2010, May. Two hundred student volunteers from the Michigan Church of God pulled garlic mustard at the Preserve.
2010, March. Gibbs House Fellows organized a trash pick-up day at Asylum Lake Preserve. Approximately 15 students assisted in cleaning up the property.
2009, Nov. ROTC. Situational Training Exercise (STX).
2009, May. Dr. Charles Ide and Gibbs House Fellows monitored the regeneration of garlic mustard, an invasive species.
2009, May. Two hundred student volunteers from the Michigan Church of God pulled garlic mustard at the Preserve.
2008, Sept. WMU's Women's Cross Country Team held practice at Asylum Lake Preserve through the fall and winter.
2008, May. Volunteers from the National Honor's Society pulled garlic mustard at the Preserve.
2008, May. Two hundred student volunteers from the Michigan Church of God pulled garlic mustard at the Preserve.
2007, April. Tyler Bassett, Botanist from Native Connections performed a comprehensive inventory of the vascular plants and wildlife at the Asylum Lake Preserve.
2007, April. The Asylum Lake Preservation Association organized a trash removal and garlic mustard pull for Earth Day.
2007, March.WMU hosted a PeaceJam event. The event included service projects and a conference with Nobel Peace Laureate, Rigoberta Menchu Tum as the guest speaker. The conference had an environmental theme and included a conservation project atAsylum Lake. PeaceJam is a service learning program for high school students in Kalamazoo and is a partner with WMU. "The mission of the PeaceJam Foundation is to create a new generation of young leaders committed to positive change in themselves, their communities and the world through the inspiration of Nobel Peace Laureates."
2006, April. Volunteers from the Asylum Lake Preservation Association pulled garlic mustard growing in the oak savanna on Earth Day.
2006, April. Three WMU students investigated paranormal activity at Asylum Lake Preserve, focusing on the sites of former State Hospital buildings.
2006,March. The Land Trust Alliance held its Midwest Conference at the Fetzer Center at WMU. Asylum Lake Preserve was included in the seminar as an outdoor venue due to its relevant stewardship issues and its proximity to the Fetzer Center.