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Student researchers observe the lake from the crest of a dune. First-Year Research in Earth Sciences (FYRES): Dunes

FYRES: Dunes has opportunities for first-year and upper-level students to learn by participating in dune research within the dynamic setting of Lake Michigan's coastal dunes.

The FYRES course has up to 24 spots for first-year students interested in hands-on science. Students will use cutting-edge methods and equipment to investigate current questions about the dunes. Student discoveries will inform the activities of dune managers and scientists, and contribute to public outreach efforts.

The course is supported by six FYRES student research mentors working with professor and dune researcher Deanna van Dijk. The upper-level geography, geology and environmental studies majors will mentor the first-year students through their research training and team research projects. Student mentors will gain research, teaching and leadership experience, and the excitement of sharing scientific discovery with the students taking the FYRES course.

Learn more about:

The FYRES student experience

The application process for students

The FYRES Mentor experience

FYRES people: students, mentors, faculty

FYRES research projects and results

This website is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant #0942344 and a grant from the Michigan Space Grant Consortium. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


FYRES Fall 2016 is underway: Twenty-seven students, six FYRES Research Mentors, and a FYRES Coordinator are enjoying new dune experiences.

June: The most recent FYRES Research Reports are available as pdfs from this website.

April: Six Research Mentors and a FYRES Coordinator have been hired for Fall 2016.

March 4: Mentors presented research projects from the fall at the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts and Letters conference.

February: The grant from Michigan Space Grant Consortium has been renewed for next year's FYRES program.

November–December: FYRES research teams analyzed data and presented research findings on December 10, 2015.

October: After learning research methods and experiencing different dune settings, FYRES students began their team research projects.

September: FYRES began its fifth run with 22 students, 6 FYRES Research Mentors, a FYRES coordinator, and the instructor, Professor Deanna van Dijk.

June: Completed research reports from FYRES 2014-2015 are available on the FYRES Research pages.

April: The Michigan Space Grant Consortium awarded a third Public Outreach grant to the FYRES project.

Land Conservancy of West Michigan published a blog post written by FYRES Mentor Katy Gerber about Castle Park.

Students reflect on their FYRES experience in 2014.

More FYRES News & Stories

For more information about the FYRES project, contact Deanna van Dijk at