For many college students the summer season is a time to relax and enjoy the outdoors without the worry of school work and exams. These individuals however, are going the extra mile during their “off-season” to ensure that they are doing their part for the future of Michigan conservation.
The Hal and Jean Glassen Scholars program at Michigan State University is one of the most unique experiences available to college students in the country. The program, which is going on its fifth year, places scholars in a summer internship program with organizations that deal with complex matters involving public policy in regards to natural resources. This year there are 15 individuals in the program under the supervision of director Patricia Stewart. Throughout the duration of the semester, students are given the opportunity to learn from hands-on experience both in the workplace and in their classroom. From sitting in on both the House of Representatives and the Senate and public policy meetings to maintaining lands at Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge and everything in between, these students are doing it all.
On Wednesday, July 25 from 7-9pm, the Glassen Scholars were tasked by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and OTG with removing an old fishing pier at Lake Interstate State Game Area in Charlotte, Michigan. This pier, which was collapsing due to erosion of the shoreline under the platform, was unsafe for public use and needed to be removed so that a new, safer one may be constructed in its place. This structure was commonly used by visitors to the area, and this was a great opportunity for the students to make a difference in their local natural community.
The Scholars worked hard at their internships during the day, and still managed to come out that evening and dedicate their time to this project. The task at hand was more difficult than originally anticipated, but nevertheless they persevered through the heat of the late afternoon and well into the evening. They worked together to problem-solve issues that they were faced with, and discussed their thoughts on possible solutions. At the end of the day when dusk was upon the area, over half of the pier was completely removed and on land, and the DNR Wildlife Division was able to easily finish what remained in the days to come.
Their accomplishments are a true testament to hard work and team effort. On The Ground was thankful to be a part of this project and to work with each individual scholar. It is abundantly clear that the future of natural resources policy is bright thanks to these young, incredibly hard working professionals and their dedication to the great outdoors.
More information on the Michigan State Glassen Scholars program can be found here.