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Center for Ecology & Natural Resource Sustainability

Welcome! Lush with lakes, wetlands, and forests, Kent State University and the surrounding Northeast Ohio area are rich in natural resources. The mission of the Center for Ecology and Natural Resource Sustainability is to promote an understanding of the natural environment and its resources through scientific research, education of students at Kent State University and beyond, as well as programs to restore and preserve the integrity or natural areas.

Research Opportunities

To accomplish these goals, the Center serves as a focal point of organization for both people interested in ecological issues and the natural areas owned by Kent State University. Here you will find information about the research and educational opportunities in Ecology, Environmental Science, and Natural Resource Sustainability at Kent State University and the surrounding Northeast Ohio area.

Featured Activities

Kent State - Holden Arboretum Summer Research Program for Undergraduates

Kent State University and The Holden Arboretum invite applicants for a 10-week summer research training program. Students will conduct research with faculty mentors on terrestrial-aquatic linkages in urban-impacted ecosystems. A wide variety of potential topics may be studied; examples include effects of acid rain or land use change, nutrient cycling, plant-soil interactions, hydrology, and stream invertebrates. The program was designed to take advantage of the Kent-Holden partnership, and unique resources provided by each institution.

Students will get field and lab experience at both Kent State and Holden, participate in weekly seminars, and learn about hypothesis generation, project design, ethics in research, and data archiving in a geospatial database.

Students participating in the program will be provided housing and stipend. See the Kent State-Holden REU website for more information, application details, and important dates.

New Agreement Signed between Kent State and Cuyahoga Valley National Park

The new Memorandum of understanding signed between Kent State and Cuyahoga Valley National Park complements Kent State's membership in the national Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Unit, making Kent State and national parks eligible for expedited collaborative opportunities.

Read more about the new MOU

Enhancing education and research in our natural areas

One of the main goals of CENRS is to help coordinate education and research activities on Kent State property.  In Summer 2012, we began an inventory and description of natural areas owned by Kent State, which includes valuable wetlands and mature forests.  The inventory will be made available through reports and a GIS database, and is the starting point for more organized activities in these areas.

Morgan Soil MapIn Fall 2012, the project will be expanded with a grant from the Dominion Foundation Higher Education Partnership.  We will be establishing a geospatial database to store environmental data collected on properties owned by Kent State and elsewhere.  The database will provide access to data from within GIS software and through a spatial interface on the internet. As students and researchers deposit data into the database over time, it will develop into a rich bank of information that can be used for temporal studies, in spatial visualization, and to link different types of data.

Service learning activities

In Spring 2012, Sarah Kitson and Jenna Martin served as service learning liaisons, assisting faculty to design and implement service learning activities in their courses. Community partners hosting the service learning activities include Portage County Parks and the Western Reserve Land Conservancy.  The program is a partnership with the Collaborative Learning for Environmental Action Network (CLEAN).

Last Spring, the presentations and activities organized by these service learning liaisons exposed 179 students enrolled in four classes to applications of environmental science in the real world.  The Spring courses included "Forestry" and "Conservation of Natural Resources" taught by Dan Ross, and "Invertebrate Zoology" taught by Ferenc De Szalay.  In addition, a unique special topics course was set up to take advantage of the opportunity presented by this program: "Special Topics: Service Learning in Environmental Biology" co-taught by Drs. Ross and De Szalay.  Sarah has stayed on for Fall 2012 and is organizing activities for additional classes.