• Position: Professor
  • Department: Biology
  • Phone: (616)526-6497
  • Email: vdra@calvin.edu
  • Office location: Devries Hall 113 | Map


Dr. Van Dragt is an ecologist with interests in ecosystem management and restoration. He has designed and supervised construction of several nature preserves and for more than twenty years has directed the Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve, a 100-acre woodland and wetland preserve on the Calvin campus. For nearly two decades he has also taught restoration ecology at the Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies. He is currently directing the restoration of a native prairie in Central Whidbey Island, Washington.


  • B.S. in Biology, Calvin College, 1969
  • M.S. in Wildlife Science, Cornell University, 1971
  • Ph.D., University of Rhode Island, 1985


Courses taught


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Academic Interests

Research and Professional Interests

Dr. Van Dragt's research topics are Pacific lowland prairie restoration, plant succession on abandoned oil well sites in northern Michigan, and forest succession of the Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve. They are funded by Au Sable Institute, The Nature Conservancy, and Calvin College.


  • Land Management of Calvin's Ecosystem Preserve
  • Restoration of Coastal Outwash Prairie on Whidbey Island, Washington
  • Management of the Bear Creek Watershed
  • Multi-year study of the biotic communities and prairie ecosystem at Calvin's Flat Iron Lake Nature Preserve.

Selected publications

Presentations with undergraduate co-authors

  • Noah Jansen , Randall G. Van Dragt and David Warners, Creation care in horticulture: naturalizing the college campus, American Scientific Affiliation 56 th Annual Meeting, 2001.
  • Rachel Veltman , and Randall Van Dragt, Succession in a “mature” West Michigan woodlot, Michigan Academician 30, 1999.