ecology, gis, map, plant, science, nature, environment, conservation, wetland, identification


Biodiversity | Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


Dr. James Dunn


There is a Presbyterian summer camp near Greenville, Michigan that is home to beautiful wetlands with a variety of wildlife. This camp is nestled between multiple larger connected lakes and surrounded by many large waterfront properties. The number of campers has dwindled in recent years and the council in charge of the land is desperate to sell the most ecologically important sections of the camp, if not all of the land, to developers for multi-million dollar price tags. My dad is on the committee trying to convince the council and the community to save the camp from development.

I surveyed the North Point area of the camp, the location where the watershed drains and the most ecological diversity is found. I took photographs of and catalogued most of the different plant species I could find, along with some species of lichen, frog, fungus, and insects. I used GIS mapping layers to introduce the land change of the surrounding area over time from mainly forested and wetland areas to commercially developed urban sections and agriculture, gradually encroaching around the camp. I pointed out areas that the DEQ states has the potential for wetland restoration and even touched on the trouble with invasive species in the area. My final product was a booklet that has been distributed amongst churches in the community and leaders who are determined to save the camp - both for its huge impact on children and the ecological importance.

As of now, the committee to save the camp has a very short deadline by which they are supposed to raise millions of dollars to stop the council from selling to a developer. However, the final vote comes from the community and I am hoping that my contribution has made an impact in the hearts of those deciding the fate of this camp.