After attending AuSable I changed my Environmental minor to a major. I was blow away by the learning opportunity and connections I made with other students and professors. Finally, a cross denominational christian and science institution; taking two of my personal loves and showing the world that yes, they can thrive together. And I kept coming back, because what better way to learn than with small, hands on classes taught by excellent professors that can teach you things far beyond their field of specialty. And you living along side these professors and their families, along with your new found friends who how else would you ever have them. It really is a one in a million type of interaction.
Before AuSable I did not know how I was going to fit my environmental biology degree and my passion for teaching about the natural world into a career. Working with the staff and hearing about AuSable alumni provided me with potential pathways. My environmental education internship with Patricia was the keystone that the rest of my working life has been build upon. The knowledge and skills that I gained during those 10 weeks provided me with the experience I needed to aquire my first job. Today, I still use the tools and even some of the lesson plans exactly. Thank you AuSable!
Au Sable Institute changed my life. It helped to develop me into the person that I am today. The classes were challenging but I learned a wealth of knowledge. The professors were dedicated and fun. The staff were great people. The other students became like family. The settings are inspiring. The experiences, the people, and the knowledge I gained from being a student, a staff member, and an intern will always remain with me.
My experience at AuSable changed my life! The very first course I took was about the natural history of the great lakes region in spring, and it was intense. I learned about so many things, from how to sit quietly at dawn and identify bird calls, to how to sneak up and watch a spring peeper call at dusk. The community there was so supportive and had a wonderful attitude of awe and caretaking towards the creation--even though my education branched off into agriculture, that sense of wonder and responsibility has stayed with me. One of the very best benefits of being a student at AuSable is getting the chance to see that sincere Christians can be serious and respected scientists. Getting to know those people personally was an incredible benefit as I continued my education in secular universities.
Environmental education has to do with a persons lifestyle and world view. It is difficult to change a persons lifestyle and or world view without intense interpersonal interaction with other people of conviction and relative experience and knowledge. AuSable provides this kind of interaction with these kinds of leaders. Students have a rare opportunity to have their lives and minds shaped by caring,intelligent professionals. This empowers them in a unique way to change their world. The world is changed one person at a time. AuSable is committed to this mission and has proven it's methods to be effective over many years of committed effort by people of conviction, passion and service.
Teaching at Au Sable changed my life; not only is the biological knowledge I have aquired teaching at Au Sable the equivalent of a second Ph.D., but I also learned to integrate my Christian faith and my discipline in a way that would not have been possible anywhere else. The academic community and the full-immersion experience Au Sable offers are truly unique; as the wife of a fellow Au Sable professor once said,
Au Sable has proven to be a wonderful place for our students to enjoy nature in ways they don't get to in their everyday lives. It's a place where we can experience creation through play (snow shoeing, cross country skiing) while learning about how our everyday lives can effect what that experience will look like in the future as we care for creation in our own backyards. One great part of it is that this learning happens as the students simply experience all that Au Sable has to offer.
Au Sable was not only a place for academic learning (which was fantastic) but it was a community of Christians dedicated to serving God and loving the world God created. It provided a vision for Kingdom building alongside brothers and sisters in Christ. I learned so much from everyone there: from the faculty to my peers to the kitchen staff. Mealtime is one of my fondest recollections, it was one way that Au Sable demonstrated how caring for creation takes intentionality in every area of life.
The years I spent at Au Sable were life transformational for me. The depth of relationships formed there have led to lifelong friendships, and I even met my future spouse at Au Sable! In addition, being able to share the wonder of nature with others and being able to teach the importance of being good stewards of creation was truly a joy. Even though I never enrolled in any college courses at Au Sable, the evironment on campus was one that fostered continued learning and growth for me (through the combination of faculty and student and visiting guest interactions, lectures, field trips, library resources, opportunities to explore the natural environment through a variety of means, modeling of stewardship practices, and practicing teaching skills.)
The two summers that I spent taking classes at Au Sable absolutely impacted the direction of my life. I was contemplating a career in the medical field, but the importance of environmental conservation, which is the heart of Au Sable, changed my focus to research and conservation science. I also greatly appreciated the Christian perspective from which all the coursework is approached, which gives the true meaning and purpose to all their work and now mine.