WMU Geology Tours

Western Michigan University’s CoreKids K-12 Outreach Program invites Michigan teachers who are looking for Earth science resources to schedule a visit to WMU to explore our geological facilities.

CoreKids provides two options for WMU geology tours:

  • Michigan Geological Repository for Research and Education (off-campus)
  • Rood Hall, the home of WMU’s Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences (on-campus)

The CoreKids program provides a flexible schedule for tour groups that can be tailored to the specific needs of the students.  Tours at MGRRE and Rood Hall both include tours of the facilities as well as hands-on activities.  Teachers can choose from one of our six modules for the hands-on component of the tour.

Michigan Geological Repository for Research and Education

The Michigan Geological Repository for Research and Education is an important component of the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences and of Western Michigan University. This facility enables faculty to conduct subsurface geological research and technology transfer focused on oil and gas exploration and development and carbon dioxide sequestration. MGRRE’s faculty and students also conduct geological research about geothermal energy, glacial geology and mapping, groundwater aquifers, subsurface mineral deposits and the geological history of the Michigan Basin. The 27,000 square-foot MGRRE facility archives the most comprehensive collection of geological samples and data in the state of Michigan, including approximately 530,000 linear feet of rock cores. These cores were drilled during oil, gas and mineral exploration; environmental research; and geological mapping projects.

  • MGRRE Classroom: K-12 educators are invited to spend time in the MGRRE classroom exploring literature and videos. MGRRE also has many college-level textbooks that constitute an excellent resource for high school teachers in particular.
  • The Steve Wilson Michigan Mineral and Fossil Collection: A newly donated mineral and fossil collection with phenomenal samples from Michigan is now on display at the MGRRE facility.

Department of Geological and environmental sciences

The Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Western Michigan University is a growing center for geologic education and research. The department's research is focused on geologic mapping, groundwater, energy utilizing the applied geophysics, hydrogeology, remote sensing, paleoclimate studies and subsurface sample coring and characterization. In recent years, the department has extended its scope to new frontiers of earth science, including space and planetary sciences, astrobiology, airborne geophysics and energy reservoir characterization. The department includes many active research laboratories, including earth science remote sensing, stable isotopes and carbonate sedimentology and characterization, all of which are state-of-the-art analytical facilities. Additional educational facilities include:

  • Schmaltz Geology and Mineral Museum: Located on the first floor of Rood Hall, the Schmaltz Geology and Mineral Museum displays an impressive collection of rocks, minerals and fossils from Michigan and throughout the world. The museum also includes several interactive learning experiences that demonstrate key geologic concepts.
  • Kelley Collection of Modern and Fossil Shark Teeth
  • Educational rock garden (weather permitting)