Professor Warners in the lab
Calvin College biology professor Dave Warners is being honored by the Michigan Campus Compact with an MCC Faculty/Staff Community Service-Learning Award. This annual award is the highest honor the MCC bestows on faculty and staff in the state of Michigan.
In recent years Warners has led a number of interesting projects at Calvin that connect the natural environment of the campus to various courses in the sciences. In 2004 he organized a group of Calvin students who explored the possible options for processing organic wastes at Calvin.
"The purpose of this exercise," he says, "was to increase student awareness of how wastes are disposed at Calvin and to expose them to alternative practices."
He also has led efforts to remove exotic plants from the Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve and other sites on campus and has helped educate students about potential removal strategies and how they compare to each other.
Such efforts on campus have also brought Warners beyond the Calvin campus. He recently performed botanical inventories of four significant parcels of natural areas in West Michigan, the largest of which is Hoffmaster State Park. These inventories generated information that will help the land managers care for these natural areas.
Other off-campus activities have included utilizing Calvin students to help local schools and parks establish native wildflower habitats. Over a dozen such projects have been done in the past eight years. One of these was a Native American Garden at Creston Christian School, where all the plants used were important species for local Indian tribes.
Warners was nominated for the award by Jeff Bouman, director of the Service-Learning Center at Calvin, who says the honor is an appropriate one.
"Dave's work not only with students, but with other faculty, defies the traditional stereotype of service-learning only fitting with social science or human services courses," says Bouman. "His love for creation care and his desire to fuel student interest in this process is infectious, and frankly, helps me to do my job more effectively."
Warners will be formally honored during an evening awards ceremony to be held on Thursday, February 16 on the campus of the University of Michigan-Flint as part of the Tenth Annual Institute on Service-Learning.
Michigan Campus Compact is a state-level, non-profit organization that promotes the education and commitment of Michigan college students to be civically engaged citizens, through creating and expanding academic, co-curricular and campus-wide opportunities for community service, service-learning and civic engagement.