South Florida Wetlands
South Florida Wetlands, include the Everglades and Big Cyprus Swamp. Numerous ecosystems in these areas depend on a complex cycle of precipitation, surface flow, fire, hurricane and drought. These systems are home to a diverse set of organisms, including large beautiful water fowl and abundant alligators. Pictured above is a White Ibis, photographed in Cork Screw Swamp Sanctuary. Below is an alligator, photographed along the Anhinga Trail in the Everglades.
Water management is a major environmental issue in south Florida. Water naturally flowing through the Everglades is diverted for agricultural uses, flood control, and use domestic use by the rapidly growing coastal urban areas. The picture below shows some of the fields near Homestead. Outside of the areas protected in Parks and preserves, much of the everglades have been converted to areas such as this that shown below:
The Florida Keys originated as a coral reef during a high stand of sea level during Pleistocene time. Today a magnificent living reef parallels the chain of low islands we know as the Keys. We stayed at Sea Camp on Big Pine Key (shown above), and spent a day investigating coral reef, turtle grass flats and other marine environments.
Environmental problems we saw included contamination and salinity changes in Florida Bay induced by water use patterns in south Florida, and fishing and recreational pressures on reef ecosystems. We discussed the use of Marine Preserves as a means of addressing some of these problems.
Shark behavior and protection is the research specialty of Dr. Jeff Carrier, one of our faculty. Here Jeff is explaining some of the challenges related to creation of Marine preserves, in the Keys and elsewhere.
Special Guests and Lectures
As part of our efforts to broaden educational experiences, the Ford Institute sponsors a series of lectures throughout the academic year. Additionally, each semester begins with a convocation celebration that highlights the speaker for that semester. As members of the Ford Institute, our students are given the opportunity to have dinner with the speakers, and often spend time with them one on one. Browse through our list of recent lecturers and guests.
Former Lectures of Note:
"2009 Opening Convocation"
Marty Nesbitt, '85, Treasurer for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign
"Life in the Secret Service"
Jeff Frost, PhD., Director, U.S. Secret Service West Michigan
"A Nobel Laureate's Perspective on the Middle East"
David Trimble, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate for bringing peace to Northern Ireland
"The Early Civil Rights Movement: An Insider's View"
Juanita Abernathy, Civil Rights Activist and wife of the late Reverend Ralph Abernathy
"Affirmative Action for the Master Class: Understanding the Proslavery Constitution"
Dr. Paul Finkelman, Distinguished Professor at Albany Law School
"Arab-Americans in Michigan"
Rosina Hassoun, CEO of Goldfinch Enterprises and Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at Michigan State University
"The Great Drama of Globalization"
Fareed Zakaria, International Editor of Newsweek, CNN Anchor
"Advocacy in the Adult Beverage Industry"
Dwayne Kratt,΄89, Director of Government Relations, Miller Brewing Company
"An Evening with Carl Hiaasen"
Carl Hiaasen, noted author and Pulitzer Prize nominee
"The U.S. Supreme Court: An Insider's View"
William Sutter, Chief Clerk of the U.S. Supreme Court
"What's the Future of Michigan Schools?"
Mike Flanagan, Michigan Superintendent of Public Education
"The Civil Rights Movement Today"
Dr. William Anderson, Residency Director at the Detroit Medical Center, founder of Albany Georgia Civil Rights Movement, marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Health Care Policy: What's Happening in Washington, D.C.?"
Joe Schwartz, M.D. (former U.S. Congressman)
Beyond the Classroom
Part of the liberal arts experience requires the education to expand beyond the classroom. Ford students participate in Institute sponsored events around the state and across the country. Our many "friends of the institute" help our students to become in engaged in the world around them helping to bridge the gap between the classroom and the real world.
2013 Senior Trip to Washington, D.C.
Thirteen seniors from the Ford Institute visited the District April 6-9 as part of their Ford Senior Colloquium. The trip included visits with legislators, an insider's view of the Supreme Court and C-SPAN, and discussions and networking with alumni. Read more
2012 Senior Trip to Washington, D.C.
5/6/12 – 5/9/12 – The Ford Institute’s Class of 2012 embarked for the nation’s capital the day after graduation. Students were greeted by alumni residing in DC during a special dinner. The agenda of the trip featured meetings with Google’s government affairs office; Brett Decker, ’93, the editorial page editor of the Washington Times; and the leadership of C-SPAN. The students also met with Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow and observed both the Senate and the House of Representatives in session. Additionally, students were allotted free time to explore the monuments, museums, and restaurants of their interest while also checking out potential jobs and graduate school. Thanks to John Hunter, ’69, for his help in organizing this trip.
2011 Trips to Grand Rapids
Throughout the fall of 2011 the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids opened its doors to students of the Ford Institute. Whether it was listening to speakers or exploring exhibits, students learned more about public service as well as the institute’s namesake. Fordies were able to interact with dignitaries including former Vice President Dick Cheney, retired U. S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, and former Secretary of State and White House Chief of Staff James Baker III. The Ford Museum also took students on a behind the scenes tour of the facilities.
Students Johanna Schulte, Marissa Cloutier, and
John Fleming with President Ford's daughter Susan
Ford Bales and Ford Institute Director Al Pheley.
2010 Trip to Lansing
3/24/2010 - As part of the Ford Institute's efforts to build networks between our students and members of the Albion College family, 11 members of the Ford Institute spent the entire day in Michigan's capitol, meeting with lawmakers, congressional staffers, lobbyists and more. The students also had a private session with Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Marilyn Kelly in the Hall of Justice. Shortly after our meeting with Chief Justice Kelly, the students sat down with Janet Welch '71, who currently serves as the Executive Director of the State Bar association of Michigan. She and some of her staff spoke with students interested in law school and offered up strategies to law school entrance and passing the bar. She and her staff also offered valuable advice to the Ford students about what to expect in a career in law, and how to maneuver obstacles many young law students face entering into the field.
Pictured L-R: Drew Miller, Andrew Kercher, Chris Samelak, Mariah Hill, Daniel Gremore,
Paige Narins, Abigail De La Rosa, Kelly Houk, Jeff Ahee, and William Armstrong
2010 Senior Trip to Washington D.C.
3/17/2010 - 3/20/2010 - The Ford Institute's Class of 2010 in conjunction with their PBSV 397 Senior Colloquium course embarked for the nation's capitol to meet with members of congress, staff in the executive branch, and alums in the D.C. area. Highlighting the trip was a meeting with the Commissioner of the FCC Robert McDowell, he discussed issues of internet regulation and net neutrality, and the recently adopted Broadband Deployment Plan. The students also met with Michigan Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin, with additional stops at U.S. Representatives Dave Camp and Mark Schauer's offices. The students and Director Pheley also attended a dinner with alumni in the area at Buca di Beppo on Dupont Circle.
2010 Seniors Louis Kraus, Jeff Vos, and Charles Green on the steps of the capital building