Those who possess a passionate curiosity about the natural world and are led by a protective spirit of stewardship live the truth of Thoreau’s words: “You must love the crust of the earth on which you dwell more than the sweet crust of any bread or cake.” At Defiance College, these lovers of the earth are restoration ecology students and faculty.
Restoration ecology is the art and science of restoring and repairing damaged or destroyed ecosystems. With the worldwide destruction of rain forests, wetlands, old growth forests, prairies, streams, lakes, rivers and oceans, restoration ecologists make a real difference in the world.
At Defiance College, the only small liberal arts college in the Midwest with a restoration ecology program, students gain critical fieldwork experience at the Thoreau Wildlife Sanctuary where they have planted more than 40,000 trees in addition to herbaceous terrestrial and wetland plants.
Students have also conducted research involving prairie burns, the reintroduction of bobwhite quail and ringneck pheasants, and distributions of amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Current projects range from control of invasive terrestrial plants to effects of cropland on water quality.
As students work with restoration ecology faculty, their curiosity and stewardship spirit transforms into critical skills, and they graduate with a global perspective on ecological restoration, prepared for work in settings that range from private business and conservation organizations to governmental agencies.
Love the crust of the earth. Learn about it. Protect it.