Prof. Warners works in the areas of Restoration Ecology, Plant Systematics and Evolution, Conservation Biology and Creation Care. His current research in Restoration Ecology focusses on how to create areas of native Michigan forest in sites that were previously lawn or degraded old fields. He has also done work in prairie and wetland restoration.

Dave’s life outside of Calvin is filled with family activities. He and his wife Teri have three children who are involved in a variety of musical, artistic and athletic activities. They all enjoy camping together in the summers, gardening, bicycling, cooking, reading, and in general working together to try to lead lives that are consistent with their faith. Dave teaches 5th grade Sunday School and leads small group studies at his home church, Sherman Street CRC.



B.S. in Biology/Chemistry, Calvin College, 1985
M.S. in Environmental Science - Land Resources, Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1989
Ph.D. in Botany, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology program, University of Michigan, 1997

Professional Experience

Professor Warners has served as an environmental consultant on Environmental Impact Statements, and has performed many botanical inventories for local townships, state parks and other organizations. He have helped several local schools and parks establish native wildflower gardens and led plant rescue efforts to preserve native species from areas that are planned for development. In addition, he has worked as a botanist for the Ann Arbor Parks department and volunteered with the Nature Conservancy and the Land Conservancy of West Michigan.

Courses taught


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Academic Interests

Research and Professional Interests

Professor Warners' research in systematics and evolution has included studies on a naturally occurring Aster hybrid (Aster cordifolius x Aster saggitifolius) in West Michigan and a naturally occurring Poplar hybrid (Populus deltoides x Populus balsamifera) at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and Wilderness State Park. Most recently, he has been helping to lead a local watershed group, the Plaster Creek Stewards, to improve the health of a seriously degraded stream whose watershed includes much of Calvin’s campus.  As part of this effort he has helped start a native landscaping and habitat establishment initiative called ‘Native Landscapes’, which focuses on promoting native biodiversity within urban areas, particularly sites within the Plaster Creek watershed.  This ‘restoration ecology’ work is an outgrowth of an abiding interest and challenge in trying to incorporate creation care principles into all aspects of our daily lives (as individuals, communities and institutions). Finally, he has also done research and has an continued interest in cloud forest restoration in Costa Rica.


  • A long term phenology project at Flat Iron Lake Preserve in Greenville, Michigan was designed to study how the flowering period of native herbaceous wildflowers is being affected both by year-to-year weather patterns and overall climate change.
  • Investigating germination and growth requirements for seedlings of native species and evaluating variables such as growth medium, mycorrhizal inoculation, temporal factors and out-planting strategies.
  • Restoring a Degraded Stream: Reconciliation Ecology in the Plaster Creek Watershed.
  • Restoration of Native Plants and Habitats in Urban Areas.
  • The Impact of 100+ Years of Growth and Development on the Flora of Grand Rapids and its Vicinity.

Selected publications

  • Book 2012. Ecology chapter in Delight in Creation: Scientists Share their Work with the Church. Edited by: Haarsma, D. and Hoezee, S. (Grand Rapids, MI. Center for Excellence in Preaching, 2012).
  • Warners, D. 2012. "No Existence, Only Coexistence: Gardening for the good of biodiversity." Wild Ones Journal, January/February/March.
  • Warners, D. 2012. "No Existence, Only Coexistence: Gardening for the good of biodiversity." The National Gardener, Winter.
  • Book 2011. Faith, Science and Stewardship: Christian Pedagogy on the Environment. Their chapter is titled, Reconciliation Ecology: A Christian Pedagogy of Place. Warners, D. and Heffner, G. (Benedictine University).
  • DeJong, G. and D. P. Warners.  2010.  "Evolutionary and ecological significance of a naturally-occurring hybrid poplar (Populus deltoides x Populus balsamifera) in Northern Michigan."  Accepted with revision to The Michigan Botanist.