With direct access to Orchard Lake, our unique teaching and research objectives are developed and geared toward the lake environment. The Environmental Science program is a multidisciplinary major with a strong emphasis on limnology. Not many universities have this aquatic advantage.
We continue to monitor the mercury levels and coliform bacteria density of Orchard Lake, as requested by the City of Orchard Lake Village. Presently, all of our measured soil and water mercury readings are far below what the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers to be toxic. However, in the past 13 years, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources found three northern pike from Orchard Lake with mercury levels above the 1.5 ppm level (the EPA’s “no consumption” level is 1.5 ppm).
We are also measuring off-shore E. coli concentrations at the request of the City of Orchard Lake Village. Thanks to donations and grants, we are able to culture the E. coli bacteria and do colony counts, which are critical in measuring whether lake water is safe for human contact. High levels of E. coli have closed many lakes during past summers in Oakland and Macomb counties. The more water and soil samples that are taken, the more confident we are in our assessments. These environmental topics, as well as others, are incorporated into the curriculum.
The Environmental Science program fosters the acquisition of basic knowledge and skills in the biological and physical sciences and the application to environmental analysis of biological and chemical materials. Course instruction, assignments, and experiments are designed to:
- Provide a breadth and depth of biological and physical science education requisite to addressing and adjusting to the demands of a field in an increasingly complex scientific world.
- Develop the students' ability to think logically, critically and independently.
- Develop students who express their ideas accurately through the study of language, concepts, structure and methodology of their discipline.
- Develop in students a sensitivity to current problems and trends in environmental science and their relationships.
- Develop self-reliance and technical skills as documented by scientific observations based upon individual laboratory experiences.
- Prepare students to enter professional programs or graduate school in environmental science, medicine, biological science, or physical science.
- Foster the development of a holistic view of the universe in which the physical and biological sciences and mathematics complement cultural values gained through humanities and behavioral sciences.