If you have the opportunity to fly over northern Indiana, make sure to look out the window. In Kosciusko County alone, the landscape is dotted with more than 100 lakes, including the state’s largest and deepest. Fly in a little closer and you can spot Grace College tucked on a rise over Winona Lake. And in the Dr. Dane A. Miller Science Complex, the Lilly Center for Lakes & Streams.
“Those 100 lakes? They’re our mission. The people around them inspire our vision each and every day,” said Dr. Nate Bosch, director of the Lilly Center and environmental science professor at Grace. “The Lilly Center seeks to make the lakes and streams of Kosciusko County clean, healthy, safe and beautiful through applied research, engaging education and intentional collaboration. It’s our passion and our priority,” Dr. Bosch added.
Each year, the Lilly Center hires 20-25 environmental science college students, aspiring environmental science professionals who are taught to approach creation care with a mindset of stewardship and service. The students are the Lilly Center’s boots-on-the-ground, conducting cutting-edge research day in and day out, but the skills they learn are easily applied to future careers in any branch of science – or even K-12 education!
Students on the research team get to visit local waterways each week, use high-tech monitoring equipment, learn to test water samples and for certain nutrients, create microscope slides, analyze and apply real-world data, and more. Students who work on the education team use hands-on, STEM-oriented objectives to create and teach original curriculum to students in every school district in the county, both in-person and virtually.
Lakes are living organisms, constantly shifting and changing based on what enters, leaves or lives in them. Because they contribute so much to our economy (approximately $313 million annually) it is easy to understand why we want to study them and keep them healthy.
Beyond their economic value, however, the lakes are a way of life for many people. They provide an entourage of health and wellness advantages, from kayaking to wakeboarding. They are a serene escape from a busy schedule and a sunlit backdrop to reconnection with friends, family and God. Winona Lake is a short walk away, and the shoreline is perfect for picnicking, studying or playing. Just ask any Grace College student — they’ll tell you that college is better by the lake. – from grace.edu