Science & Nature

Science & Nature

Overview of SVSU’s SBESI (101)

The Saginaw Bay Environmental Science Institute was established by SVSU in 2013.  It is an umbrella organization which includes multiple watershed research and development efforts involving numerous faculty, students, and disciplines.  It works to develop educational, scientific, governmental, and community partnerships in the watershed through mutually beneficial collaborations.   In the first class, Dave Karpovich, the Institute’s director and H.H. Dow Endowed Chair in Chemistry, will give an overview of the Institute’s numerous projects and partnerships.  In the second session, Dave Stanton, an SVSU biology professor, will discuss his project, which involves DNA fingerprinting of walleye to determine genetic diversity.  The final session will be held on SVSU’s Cardinal II, a pontoon which serves as a classroom and research vessel.  Participants will be split into a morning and afternoon group for the cruise as the boat only holds ten.  The class maximum is 18.

Fridays: September 12, 19 & 26, 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Price: $22 Members; $44 Non-Members   
Room: C128/Off Site


Fun with Fungi (102)

If you think hunting for morels in the spring is all there is to “mushrooms,” you will be surprised at the diversity of fungi in the fall woods!  In this three-part class, naturalist Janea Little, of Little’s Touch of Nature, will introduce you to the complex life history of various fungi, and teach you some of the basics of identifying them.  The first two sessions will be in the classroom, where with slides and specimens, Janea will cover everything from slime moulds and jelly fungi to the better-known “sac” fungi (aka, morels and their relatives) and gilled “shrooms.”  The third class will be a field trip to hunt for mushrooms, meeting offsite at a natural area in the region.  The exact location will be determined by where the best mushrooms are sprouting at the time.  Although edibility of various mushrooms will be discussed, this class is NOT meant as a replacement for a “poisonous versus edible” class.

Tuesdays: September 16, 23 & 30 • 1:30 - 3:30 p.m.
Price: $22 Members; $44 Non-Members
Room: C129/Off- Site


Fingerprints & Firearms (103)

Since the early 1900s, fingerprint detection and analysis has been one the most common and important forms of crime scene forensic investigation.  In fact, more crimes have been solved through the use of fingerprints than any other evidence.  The use of firearm evidence will also be discussed.  You will learn how these types of evidence were used to solve some specific cases, including some local ones.  The class will be led by Elaine Dougherty, a Forensic Scientist with the Michigan State Police Bridgeport Lab who is also an adjunct professor for the SVSU criminal justice program.  Please note that this class may include some graphic photographs.

Wednesdays: October 22, 29 & November 5 • 6 - 8 p.m.
Price: $22 Members; $44 Non-Members  
Room: C129


Saginaw Valley Wildlife Boating Adventure (104/105)

This “class” will give you the opportunity to relax and savor the beauty that surrounds you and learn about the ecology of one of Michigan’s largest watersheds.  You’ll take a trip through the “Everglades” of Michigan with Wil Hufton III, owner of Johnny Panther Quests Adventure Trips.  You’ll travel through one of the largest bald eagle habitats and migratory flyways in the Midwest.  Hufton has explored the ecology of this region for over 40 years and has a first-hand understanding of what is happening to our watershed.  Sign up quickly -- each cruise is limited to 10 participants.  Both trips depart from the Saginaw Marina off Lee Street in Saginaw.  You will receive a letter with logistical information about one week prior to the trip.

Saturday early cruise (104): October 4 • 8 - 11 a.m.
Saturday late cruise (105): October 4 • 4 - 7 p.m.
Price: $42 Members; $62 Non-Members    
Room: Off-Site


Plumbing the Mysteries of Microbes (106)

Much interest has recently been generated by the discovery of planets orbiting stars far beyond the eight planets of our own solar system and by the intriguing possibility of life on some of those exoplanets.  However, mysteries at the macrocosmic level are not the only ones to grab and hold our attention.  Right here on Earth, by focusing on life viewed under the microscope, scientific research and the newest technologies have revealed mysteries at the microscopic level equally as profound – challenging human understanding and demanding further exploration.  This class, facilitated by OLLI member and retired science teacher, Bob Enszer, will consider the world of microbes and their relationships to humankind.  We will investigate the variety of microbes in the invisible realm, the saga of germ theory in human history, the arms race between ourselves and microbes, the strategies that microbes use to survive and thrive, the human combative immune system, microbes as weapons of war, and microbes as nature’s allies. 

Mondays: November 17, 24, December 1 & 8 •1:30 - 3:30 p.m.
Price: $27 Members; $54 Non-Members 
Room: C129