Learning about science by doing science is the heart of the FYRES experience. Students investigate interesting questions about Lake Michigan coastal dunes, and the resulting knowledge is used by dune managers and scientists working with the dunes.


First-semester Calvin students, alongside more-experienced student mentors, design and implement studies focused on dunes along the Lake Michigan coast. Cutting-edge methods and equipment combined with solid research designs produce strong results under the guidance of professor and dune scientist Deanna van Dijk. While doing research, students get an insider view of the process of science.


First-year students earn science core credit for the FYRES course and mentors gain paid experience in their major or area of study. The hands-on learning is effective and rewarding.


FYRES project discoveries make a real-world impact in the activities of dune managers and scientists. Students have opportunities for public outreach as well as research communication.

Current in FYRES

There is still room for you to join us for Fall 2024! Apply to become a FYRES 2024 student or mentor.

FYRES 2024 will focus on the Lake Michigan dunes, but the dune we built on campus for Fall 2020 continues to be a teaching-learning-research space on the Calvin University campus.

Explore FYRES at Calvin
First-Year Students

First-Year Students
Meet the science and non-science majors who enjoy being FYRES researchers.

Upper-Level Students

Upper-Level Students
Enthusiastic Earth science majors gain research experience while mentoring less-experienced students.

Dunes Research

Interested in Dunes?
FYRES research provides information on topics including dune changes, rare plants, and management effectiveness.

The FYRES Experience in Images from Previous Years