2010 Future Fuels from Forests Teacher Institute
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2009 Future Fuels from Forests Teacher Institute
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2008 Future Fuels from Forests Teacher Institute
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2010 High School Future Fuels Field Trips to Michigan Tech: Feb. 23 & 25 and March 16 & 18
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2009 High School Future Fuels Field Trips to Michigan Tech: March 18, 20, 25, 27
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Future Fuels from Forests
Teacher Institute 2008

July 2008

Institute Focus:

Teachers work with an interdisciplinary research team to investigate forest-based ethanol production from the perspectives of ecological economics, spatial statistics, conservation biology, forest and landscape ecology, silviculture, and chemical engineering.


About the Institute

This 5-day Institute is designed to facilitate the understanding of biocomplexityand environmental sustainability. Participants will evaluate future energy choices using social science and environmental impact analysis tools and techniques. Life sciences, chemistry, engineering, technology, and social studies content expectations will be addressed. Michigan Technological University (MTU) brings together the expertise of university faculty, scientists, natural resource management professionals, and educators to conduct this Institute. The Institute provided participants with standards-based professional development, an opportunity to participate in real-world, inquiry-based investigations, and time to share teaching ideas with their peers. Through lecture, hands-on data collection and analysis, field trips, laboratory experiences, and discussions with research scientists, participants obtained new knowledge and skills that can be adapted to their work with students. Teachers received classroom resources and curriculum support materials.

Topics addressed at the Institute included:

  • Assessing public attitudes towards changing their energy and resource consumption habits, the critical need for energy diversification, and the potential viability of alternative energy sources.
  • Assessing potential changes in the local economy and community structure due to expanded timber harvests and sitingof a biomass plant.
  • The technology needed for processing tree biomass to energy.
  • Using avian populations to measure changes in ecosystem biodiversity due to increased timber harvest.
  • Measuring changes in landscape ecology as a result of altering forest species distribution.
  • Using GIS technology to inventory availability of timber supply and transportation routes for processing and marketing biofuelsfrom forests.

Participants enhanced their teaching skills—by sharing ideas and innovative approaches to curriculum development and delivery with other educators; and will be better able to guide their students’interest in science and engineering careers after interacting with a variety of scientists and natural resource professionals.

Institute Instructors

The institute was taught by Michigan Tech faculty from several departments:

School of Forest Resources & Environmental Science

David Flaspohler, Ph.D. – ornithology, biodiversity, conservation biology

Ann Mclean, Ph.D. – GIS technology, biomass inventory assessment

Chris Webster, Ph.D. – quantitative landscape and forest ecology

Department of Chemical Engineering

David Shonnard, Ph.D. – technology for processing tree biomass to energy

Department of Social Sciences

Barry Solomon, Ph.D. – surveys to assess public attitudes, ecological economics, regional impacts of biomass ethanol

USDA Forest Service North Central Research Station

Maria Janowiak, M.S. - terrestrial carbon sequestration


Course Credit

Participants can earn three graduate credits (ED 5630) from Michigan Technological University. To receive credit, participants must:

  • Complete pre-course readings.
  • Actively participate in the entire Institute.
  • Keep a field journal during the Institute.
  • Design a5-dayteaching unit (rubric provided) that meets Michigan or national content standards due September 8, 2008.

    Participants should plan to implement their unit during the 2008-09 school year. ProfessionalCertificateThe credits earned from this Institute can be applied towards an 18 semester-hour planned course of study for teachers working toward their Michigan Professional Certificate. For more information about designing a planned course of study, contact Judy Anderson at the MTU Department of Cognitive & Learning Sciences at (906) 487-2460 or

    M.S. Applied Science Education

    Graduate credits may also be applied towards Michigan Tech’s Master of Science in Applied Science Education program. For information about the program, contact Dr. Brad Baltenspergerat (906) 487-2460 or Participants interested in pursuing an advanced degree at Michigan Tech in a field other than education, should contact the department of interest (


    Joan Chadde,
    Institute Coordinator
    Western U.P. Center for Science, Math & Environmental Education
    105 Dillman Hall,
    Michigan Tech University
    1400 Townsend Dr.,
    Houghton, MI 49931
    Tel: 906-487-3341


    Need more credits!

    Attend another Michigan Tech summer institute. See: