UMBS mini-courses give you a condensed field experience in a friendly atmosphere. Whether you are a practicing naturalist, student, Station alumnus/ae, or simply someone interested in the topic, you can learn something from a mini-course.
In 2014 we are running the Birds of Northern Michigan in spring (May 28-June 1). The other mini-courses will take place in late August (August 20-24).
On-line mini-course registration will begin here on Friday, January 3, 2014.
Spring (May 28-June 1, 2014)
Birds of Northern Michigan
This class, which takes place when early summer singing and nesting are underway, features lots of time in the field. The focus is on learning to identify birds by sight, sound and habitat.
The class begins early in the mornings and early-risers are regularly rewarded with the traditional bird class breakfast and coffee. During this course there is an overnight field trip to the Seney National Wildlife Refuge in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Mary Whitmore has a rich background in ornithology and is very familiar with the birds of northern Michigan. Bob Hess is especially interested in the connection between birds and habitats and is the former director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Nongame Wildlife Program.
Late Summer (August 20-24, 2014)
Art in Nature
Come experience UMBS from an artist's perspective! This class will focus on the rich visual experience and inspiration that the Biological Station's woods, fields and shorelines provide us.
Demonstrations, instruction, and inspiration in plein-air sketching, simple watercolor painting techniques, and the elements of design will be provided by the instructor. Students will learn to keep a field sketchbook, take visual notes and capture both the detail and the broader essence of the natural world on paper. Those who are looking for a challenge or just want to break out of a rut will be given special assignments.
Working on location and in the studio, you will learn to sketch or paint with minimal equipment that you can carry on your back, providing a new way to document your travels. Field trips to local scenic destinations and plenty of time to paint on your own in or out of camp. Art supplies are provided but you may choose to bring your own, along with a comfortable, portable, chair and hat with a brim.
Ann Singsaas has been teaching drawing and watercolor for over 17 years. Her love of the northern forest is apparent in her work and classes. She is particularly skilled in conveying the tips and techniques essential for success in watercolor. View her professional website for examples of her work.
Fungi encompasses so much more than "mushrooms." Learn about different types of fungi and their different roles as the forests' recyclers.
Fungi are usually abundant and diverse in Northern Michigan in late summer and fall. This mini course will emphasize both fieldwork and laboratory studies. You will focus on identification of specimens using reference books, keys, and chemical tests (for lichens). With the enthusiastic and knowledgeable guidance of instructor Marylinn Smith, participants will collect fungi from forests and open areas on UMBS property and nearby habitats. Lectures and Power Point presentations will cover the structure, reproduction, and ecology of fungi, as well as their uses by man.
Marilynn Smith has used her graduate training in Mycology in the education and medical fields. She taught at Trinity College and worked as a medical mycologist at Hurley Hospital in Flint, Michigan. As a student at the University of Iowa, Marilynn took classes at UMBS and did independent research at the Station.
Learn more about the Great Lakes than you ever imagined in unique field/lab-based class. A team of renowned Great Lakes experts will teach you about water quality, invasive species and Great Lakes behavior.
Through lectures and field trips on a NOAA research vessel, you will find out what the key indicators are of Great Lakes quality and health. Participants will spend significant time in Lake Huron applying a variety of measurement and sampling techniques both near- and off-shore. Evenings will include time to analyze samples back in camp. Because of the time spent on the water in unpredictable weather, participants must be prepared for working in adverse field conditions.
Gary Fahnenstiel, Tom Nalepa and Dave Schwab will co-teach this class. They are all staff of the University of Michigan Water Center and Scientists Emeriti with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Fahnenstiel is an aquatic biologist, Nalepa an ecologist, particularly of invasive species, and Schwab an oceanographer and hydrodynamic modeler. The three also co-teach the UMBS course, Field Methods in Great Lakes Oceanography.
2014 Mini-Courses Fee Schedule
|Course Participant||Non-Participant Guest|
|Housing and Meals (with tax*)||$286.20||$286.20|
| TOTAL (including
| $786.20 or
$836.20 (Birds only)
*to request tax exempt status, please contact the UMBS office (231-539-8408)