For the first time, incoming School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS) students conducted their orientation at Matthaei-Nichols.
In normal times the orientation takes place at the U-M BioStation in Pellston, Mich. The pandemic took that off the table for 2021, so folks at SEAS and MBGNA decided to hold the orientation on the Matthaei property and in the Arb.
It made a lot of sense, says Catriona Mortell-Windecker, Matthaei-Nichols university services outreach coordinator. “We have the physical space and a nature setting. And we have a number of ongoing projects with SEAS students already.”
Ultimately we’re moving from a support role for SEAS at U-M to a collaborative one, Catriona explains. “With our new director come new directions. By hosting SEAS we can use the skills and experience of our staff as collaborators.”
Those staff include among others Matthaei-Nichols Associate Curator Mike Kost, who has field experience with native plants and habitats and a teaching role at SEAS.
“Students will have the opportunity to see the Arb and Gardens from the inside, or staff, view as well as the public view,” Catriona says. “I think it will open the door for their academic studies and their future careers.
Pictured: Incoming University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability students attend fall 2021 orientation at Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Here, students are enjoying the Gateway Garden. Photo by Dave Brenner.