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The word FYRES is written in sand with waves in background.

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, scientists, and 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 and geology majors will mentor the first-year students through their research training and team research projects. Student mentors will gain research, teaching, and leadership experience, as well as 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.


June: There are still a few spots left in the FYRES course for Fall 2015. Apply here! Earlier applications get first consideration.

April: The Michigan Space Grant Consortium awards 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

March: Applications are being received for FYRES 2015. Apply before the 11 May 2015 deadline.

FYRES Mentors presented their research at the Michigan Academy conference at Andrews University on 13 March 2015. Some FYRES 2014 students (and other members of the community) also attended the conference.

January: Research Mentors' abstracts have been accepted by the Michigan Academy.

December: Oral presentations and poster presentations of the preliminary results of student research projects were given at the Calvin Environmental Assessment Program (CEAP).

Students reflect on their FYRES experience in 2014.

November: Students carry out field research and analysis for final projects.

October 23: Students have written research papers, learned and used various research methods in labs, and are now beginning field research for their final projects.

September: FYRES 2014 has begun with 25 students, 6 mentors, a FYRES coordinator, and instructor Deanna van Dijk. Meet the newest members of the FYRES community!

Fall 2014 Students

Fall 2014 Mentors

June: Completed research reports from FYRES 2013-2014 are available on the updated FYRES Research pages.

May: Professor Deanna van Dijk receives the 2014 Innovative Teaching Award from Calvin College for developing and teaching the FYRES course.

More FYRES News & Stories

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