Ecosystem Preserve

Basic information

  • Phone: (616) 526-7601

Location

42.933178 -85.580505
View on campus map Get directions

The Ecosystem Preserve was established in 1985 to restore and maintain this example of a West Michigan ecosystem. It occupies the northern half of Calvin College's east campus.

The Ecosystem Preserve was established in 1985 to restore and maintain this example of a West Michigan ecosystem. It occupies the northern half of Calvin College's east campus.

The 100-acre preserve includes these features:

  • 40 trailed acres open to the public to explore (includes mature deciduous forest, 13 ponds and vernal pools, and meadows),
  • Buiten Wildlife Sanctuary (60 acres of wildlife refuge with restricted access, used for scientific research),
  • Bunker Interpretive Center (used for Calvin College classes and community educational programs).

Over the past 28 years, the preserve has been a valuable resource for:

  • An average of 6,000 visitors who enjoy our trails annually,
  • Nearly 20 Calvin College departments/programs which study here annually,
  • More than 500 Calvin students gaining valuable work and research experience as preserve employees,
  • Over 23,000 elementary school students learning about plants and animals during our school programs,
  • More than 600 children immersing themselves in nature at our Wetlands & Woodlands summer camps since 2000.

Despite all of this activity within its boundaries, the preserve remains a quiet, peaceful place for reflection and a habitat mostly untainted by human interaction. The Ecosystem Preserve successfully brings together developed and undeveloped land, and demonstrates Calvin’s belief that it is important to care for God’s creation.

Did You Know?

The Ecosystem Preserve provides habitat for 156 species of native plants, giving it a floristic quality index score of 45. This means its biodiversity makes the preserve a site of state-wide significance, and irreplaceable with current restoration techniques.

The Ecosystem Preserve encompasses the watershed supplying the headwaters of a local stream, Whiskey Creek, which flows through Calvin's east campus. Whiskey Creek is the source of water for the Seminary Pond, and a tributary of Plaster Creek.

Interested in learning more? Read more about the Ecosystem Preserve.

Hours

Walking trails and restrooms are open to the public for free everyday 7 a.m. – dusk.

Bunker Interpretive Center (BIC) Hours:

Summer (Mid-May through August)

  • Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Academic Year (September to Mid-May)

  • Monday - Friday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. 

Closed weekends and holidays (Labor Day, Thanksgiving Weekend, Christmas Break, New Year's Eve & Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, and Independence Day)

Admission to the trails and BIC is free.

Restrooms in the BIC vestibule are available everyday 7 a.m. - dusk.

Parking

Parking is available in front of the Bunker Interpretive Center. (parking map)

Accessibility

The Bunker Interpretive Center is Handicap Accessible.

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