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Native Prairie Restoration at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute l West Michigan Environmental Education


Environmental Issues Forum: To Divide or to Heal: Climate Change, Evolution, and Religion


Sarah Bodbyl Roels from MSU spoke about the interface of science and religion at the Institute on Friday, June 23. Her presentation focused on both evolution and climate change.  Click here for more information from her presentation.


Education Resources for West Michigan


Pierce Cedar Creek Institute is proud to be a supporter of the Barry Career Access Network effort, known as BCAN!, and its goal to increase the percentage of Greater Barry County residents with post-high school certificates or degrees to 60% by the year 2025. 

BCAN!, which is part of the Michigan College Access Network system, is more than a college access network for young people in Barry County; it is an effort to help people find their passion and success in careers that are high in skill, demand, and reward

For more information, see the BCAN! website at barrycan.org, the Common Agenda, and the Dashboard.

If you would like to get involved with or help support the BCAN! initiative in Barry County, please contact: 

Margie Haas, BCAN! Coordinator, at mhaas@barryisd.org.


Educational Resources at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute l A West Michigan Nature Center and Biological Field StationInspiration Through ScienceStrong Education

The value of a science education, though in some ways immeasurable, is certainly significant and definitely lasting. Science, when presented as both a subject and as a method of study, helps children better understand the world in which they live and develop a number of important skills, including making observations, asking questions, postulating explanations, conducting tests, analyzing results, and commenting on findings. Science stimulates curiosity, encourages inquiry, welcomes experimentation, and, as such, allows for active learning.

Promoting science education—specifically, environmental science education—is and always has been a fundamental component of Pierce Cedar Creek Institute's mission. To build upon this effort, the Institute launched ScienceStrong—Explore, Experience, Engage in the fall of 2014 with a specific goal in mind: to improve science literacy among area preschool through high school students by providing resources for teachers and expanding learning opportunities for students. To achieve this goal, Pierce Cedar Creek Institute has focused on providing more resources and more educational opportunities int he environmental sciences for preschool, elementary, middle school, and high school students. Through on-site and off-site programming for preschool through high school students and curriculum development with teachers and educations, Pierce Cedar Creek Institute is committed to being a leader in environmental education and helping children have ScienceStrong futures.

With its great diversity of ecosystems, including forests, wetlands, and prairies, on 742 acres in rural southwest Michigan, the Institute is an ideal site for field trips for students of all ages. Educators considering Pierce Cedar Creek Institute for class trip or field experience may visit the property and consult with staff about specific course needs. Contact Dr. Sara Parr Syswerda, education director, at (269) 721-4434 to arrange a visit of the property and to consult with staff about specific course needs.


Hastings Area Schools are Becoming ScienceStrong!

Beginning in Fall 2016, through a partnership with ScienceStrong, Hastings elementary students will experience a new, innovative, hands-on science program. The school district is aligning their science curriclum with the new Michigan Science Standards.  The new curriculum focuses on skills to investigate, work collaboratively, community effectively and solve problems.

The Institute is providing the organizational structure that will provide Young Kindergarten - Fifth Grade teachers with the training and resouces needed to effectively present this new material.  Hastings elementary teachers took part in a two-day training seminar at the Institute on August 18 and 19 presented by Mary Star of the Michigan Mathematics and Science Centers Network.

Pierce Cedar Creek Institute Education and Field Station Director Dr. Sara Syswerda used the new state standards as a guideline for the new curriculum. She also worked with experienced teachers, retired Hastings elementary teachers and volunteers, as well as staff from the Battle Creek Outdoor Education Center.

Click here for a recent TV appearance about this topic on the Lori Moore Show.



Education Matters Network

Education Matters Network l Barry County Michigan l Pierce Cedar Creek Institute for Environmental Education
In 2013, the Barry Community Foundation began a three-year commitment to education through the Education Matters Network. This commitment was renewed for another three years in 2016. Members of the Education Matters Network believe a healthy community opens itself to new ideas and provides high quality education and life-long learning for all residents. Watch the Education Matters Network Facebook page for updates on progress and also on how you can join in. Pierce Cedar Creek Institute is proud to be a key partner in this important community effort.

Part of this group is tasked with investigating the current status of education in Barry County and collecting data that may be used by others in direct action and to assess the greatest needs. The data listed below is for Barry County and for many of the school districts within the county.


Education Matters Data Powerpoint

Basic Data by School District

Reading and Math for Middle and High Schools in Barry County


Science Lending Library


With the help of donors to the ScienceStrong—Explore, Experience, Engage initiative, the Institute launched an online Science Lending Library full of equipment and supplies available for a free six-week loan for educators to use in their classrooms to enhance students' learning experiences. Items in the Science Lending Library vary across grade levels and curriculums, and are available to teachers, Girl Scout and Boy Scout leaders, Science Olympiad coaches, 4H leaders, and many more!

                                                         Pierce Cedar Creek Institute Online Science Lending Library