Dave Warners

Dave Warners


  • BS in Biology/Chemistry, Calvin College, 1985
  • MS in Environmental Science - Land Resources, Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1989
  • PhD in Botany, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology program, University of Michigan, 1997

Professional experience

Dr. Warners has served as an environmental consultant on Environmental Impact Statements, and has performed many botanical inventories for local townships, state parks and other organizations. He has helped many local schools, churches, and parks establish native wildflower gardens and led plant rescue efforts to preserve native species from areas that are planned for development. In addition, he has worked as a botanist for the Ann Arbor Parks department, served on the Board of the Land Conservancy of West Michigan, on the Academic Advisory Board for Au Sable Institute, and consulted the Nature Conservancy.


Dr. Warners works in the areas of Restoration Ecology, Plant Systematics and Evolution, Sustainability Studies and Faith-based Creation Care. His current research focusses on how to engage the local community to work together to restore health and beauty to the Plaster Creek Watershed. This work involves propagating native plants from local genotypes for use in habitat re-creations, as well as ongoing research on stream microbes, macroinvertebrates, flow dynamics, and overall water quality. He has also done work in prairie, forest, and wetland restorations.

Dave’s life outside of Calvin is filled with family activities. He and his wife Teri have three children who are involved in a variety of musical, artistic and athletic activities. They all enjoy camping together in the summers, gardening, bicycling, cooking, reading, and in general working together to try to lead lives that are consistent with their faith. Dave teaches 5th grade Church School and leads small group studies at his home church, Sherman Street CRC.

Academic interests

Dr. Warners' research in systematics and evolution has included studies on a naturally occurring Aster hybrid (Aster cordifolius x Aster saggitifolius) in West Michigan and a naturally occurring Poplar hybrid (Populus deltoides x Populus balsamifera) at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and Wilderness State Park. Most recently, he has been helping to lead a local watershed group, the Plaster Creek Stewards, to improve the health of a seriously degraded stream whose watershed includes much of Calvin’s campus.  As part of this effort he has helped start a native landscaping and habitat establishment initiative called ‘Native Landscapes’, which focuses on promoting native biodiversity within urban areas, particularly sites within the Plaster Creek watershed.  This ‘restoration ecology’ work is an outgrowth of an abiding interest and challenge in trying to incorporate creation care principles into all aspects of daily living (as individuals, communities and institutions). Finally, he has also done research in cloud forest restoration in Costa Rica.

Research and scholarship

    • Change in flowering period over time among native species at Flat Iron Lake Preserve in Greenville, Michigan: A long term study.  
    • Germination and growth requirements for successful seedling propagation of local Kent County native plants: evaluating growth medium, mycorrhizal inoculation, stratification techniques and out-planting strategies.
    • Restoring a degraded stream: Practicing reconciliation ecology in the Plaster Creek Watershed.
    • Relative success of avocado seedlings in a successional cloud forest community in San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica.
    • The impact of 100+ years of urban growth and development on natural communities in Kent County: A retrospective assessment of Emma Cole’s, ‘Flora of Grand Rapids and its Vicinity’.


            Warners, D. P. and M. K. Heun, editors. 2019. Beyond Stewardship: New approaches to creation care. Calvin Press, Grand Rapids, Michigan. 236 pp.

            Warners, D. P. 2019. Walking Through a World of Gifts. Chapter 14 in Beyond Stewardship: New approaches to creation care. Calvin Press, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Pages 185-194.

            Stockdale, A. W., G. E. Crow, and D. P. Warners. 2019. Floristic quality assessments of remnant natural areas in the greater Grand Rapids, Michigan region: Evaluating botanical change since the 1890s. The Great Lakes Botanist Vol. 58:2-31.

            DeJong, L. N., M. G. Warners, and D. P. Warners. 2017. Converting lawn to restored forest on a Midwest college campus: A seven-year assessment of herbaceous plant establishment. Ecological Restoration 35(2):167-174.

            Bouma, C., E. Huizenga and D. Warners.  2015.  Assessing a reconciliation ecology approach to suburban landscaping: Biodiversity on a college campus. The Michigan Botanist Vol 52:93-104.

            DeVries, S. and D. Warners. 2014. Nine-year assessment of soil treatment on aguacatillo (Nectandra cufodontisii and Ocoteaaustinii, Lauraceae) seedling success  in the restoration of a Costa Rican cloud forest. Brenesia 81-82:29-36.

            Warners, D., M. Ryskamp and R. VanDragt. 2014. Reconciliation ecology: A new paradigm for advancing creation care. Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith,  Vol 66 no. 4, pp 221-235.

            DeVries, S. and D. Warners. 2014. Nine Year Assessment of Soil Treatment on     Aguacatillo (Nectandra cufodontisii and Ocotea austinii) Seedling Success in the  Restoration of a Costa Rican Cloud Forest. Submitted to Brenesia (June 14)

            Warners, D., M. Ryskamp and R. VanDragt. 2014. Reconciliation ecology: A new paradigm for advancing creation care.  Submitted to Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, vol 66 no. 4, pp 221-235.

            Heffner, G. G. and D. P. Warners. 2014. Caring for a Shared Place: Undergraduate   Research to Restore an Urban Watershed.  Council for Undergraduate Research On the Web.  Vol. 35, No. 1.

            Ryskamp, M. and D. Warners.  2013.  Relic or recruit? Newly discovered Aronia   arbutifolia (Ell.) Pers. (Red Chokeberry) in Kent County raises questions  regarding past and future distributions. The Michigan Botanist Vol. 52, No. 1.

            Heffner, G., M. Ryskamp and D. Warners.  2013.  Emergence of a college-based  watershed group in West Michigan.  River Voices Journal Vol 23, No. 2.

            Warners, D.  2012.  Ecology.  Chapter 6 in D. Haarsma and S. Hoezee, eds., Delight in Creation:  Scientists share their work with the church.  Center for Excellence in Preaching, Grand Rapids, Mich.

            Warners, D.  2012.  No Existence, Only Coexistence: Gardening for the good of     biodiversity, Wild Ones Journal, January/February/March 2012

            Warners, D. 2012.  No Existence, Only Coexistence: Gardening for the good of     biodiversity, The National Gardener, Winter, 2012

            Heffner, G and D. Warners 2011.  Reconciliation ecology:  A Christian pedagogy of   place.  Chapter 3 in Christine Fletcher, ed., Faith, Science and Stewardship: Christian Pedagogy on the Environment.  Benedictine University Press.

            Warners, D. P.  2009.  What I Wish My Pastor Knew About Ecology.  Online Essay for Science on Sunday: Integrating science into the life of the Congregation (Templeton Funded Project to Deborah Haarsma and Scott Hoezee).

            Hiskes, P. D. and D. P. Warners.  2009.  Extirpated Glyceria acutiflora newly discovered in Kent County, Michigan.  The Michigan Botanist Vol. 48, No. 3, pp 78-82.

            Kuperus Heun, M., D. Warners and H. DeVries.  2009.  Campus Carbon Neutrality as an Interdisciplinary Pedagogical Tool.  Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, Vol. 61, No. 2, pp 85-98.

            Warners, D. P. and J. Bouman.  2009.  Faith, Hope and . . . Sustainability.  Online article for the Gospel and Culture Project,     http://www.gospelandculture.org/2009/04/faith-hope-sustainability/.   

            Goedhart, J. and D. P. Warners.  2007.  Assessment of prairie pots as a restoration strategy.  The Michigan Botanist Vol. 46, No. 4, pp 110-117.

            Bergwerff, K. and D. P. Warners.  2007.  Multiple objectives achieved with a     Germination experiment in a science education biology class.  The American Biology Teacher Vol 69, Num. 9, November, 2007, pp 552-556.

            Warners, D. P., N. L. Haan and B. VanderWeide.  2007.  Natural Areas Inventory of Ada Township.  Technical Report to the Ada Township Planning Committee, Ada     Township, Kent County, Michigan.  171 pp.

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