Spring Convocation highlights sustainability, education research

Contact: Erin Flynn

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—The shoreline of West Michigan is known for its beauty, but the diverse species that call the wetlands between dunes home have been relatively unknown. Until now.

Dr. Tiffany Schriever

Dr. Tiffany Schriever, an assistant professor of biological sciences as well as environment and sustainability at Western Michigan University, is conducting an in-depth study of rare interdunal wetlands along Lake Michigan. With the help of a Michigan Sea Grant, Schriever and her team are documenting the unique creatures that call the area home and figuring out how they are connected to each other.

Schriever says learning about and keeping these wetlands intact isn't just important for the environment; Michigan's economy depends on it.

"Michiganders, as well as thousands of out-of-staters and international tourists, recreate on the beaches and dunes of Lake Michigan, generating millions of dollars of revenue for local communities in the state each year," she says. "Part of what people love about the coastline is the dramatic dune landscape and the wildlife they see. If not for the wetlands, we would have considerably lower biodiversity."

Schriever will present her research during a celebration of discovery at the University's Spring Convocation, which begins at 9 a.m. Tuesday, March 26 and is open to the public.

The event will include a Discovery Symposium on Sustainability in 2020 Fetzer Center, featuring Schriever's presentation as well as research involving self-driving vehicles and climate control. Session chairs are Dr. Xiaoyun Shao and Dr. Maarten Vonhof.

A Discovery Symposium on Education in 2016/2018 Fetzer Center will feature research presentations involving topics like advancing literacy and autism services. Bob Jorth, Kalamazoo Promise executive director, will provide opening remarks.

"The Kalamazoo Promise is a bold educational initiative that highlights the importance of education and the ability of communities, like Kalamazoo, to seek innovative solutions to educational problems," says Dr. Charles Henderson, who is chair of the education symposium alongside Dr. Selena Protacio. "In the same way that the Promise works with both K-12 and higher education, the symposium speakers will span the space from K-12 to higher education."

Convocation will also include a Fulbright Scholars workshop, poster presentations by Faculty Research and Creative Activities Award winners and a recognition luncheon for invited researchers.

For more information about Spring Convocation, contact Diana Berkshire-Hearit.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.