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Field Geology in Michigan


WHAT IS IT?  This is an introductory geology course taught outdoors in the field.  It is based on the idea that the best introduction to geological materials and processes is to observe them directly in their “natural setting”.  One of the best places to do this is Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and the course is built around a ten day field trip to the UP. 

WHO IS IT FOR?  This course is designed for students who are either fulfilling their laboratory natural science laboratory requirement or are considering a geology major.  Thus it counts as Natural Science I General Education credit and as the first course in a geology major. Also, you have to be up for learning outdoors, even if cold or wet.

FOR FIRST YEAR STUDENTS: For incoming freshman, this course will help you meet new people as well as getting a jump start on the school year. This class also works well with any busy schedule as you only meet once a week during the first part of the semester. So, if you would like to be outdoors, see learning as an adventure, want to learn hands-on out in the field, and meet new people, Day 1 Michigan Rocks is perfect for you!

WHEN IS IT?  Students who enroll in this course will be able to move in to their dormitory rooms on Hope College’s campus on Tuesday, August 14, 2018.  In the afternoon we will begin our drive to the Upper Peninsula, stopping to camp along the way.  We will return to campus on the evening of Thursday, August 23, 2018 in time for first-year orientation. The class will meet once a week during the first half of the semester after which the course will be finished.

WHERE WILL WE STAY?  We will be camping and will spend some nights in primitive camping.  However, most evening we will be camping in campgrounds with full facilities including showers. There will be an extra $350 course fee to cover travel, lodging, and food.


BRIAN BODENBENDER is a Professor of Geology and Environmental Science at Hope College, where he has taught for over 20 years.

HOW CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?  Send an email to Bodenbender@hope.edu

Pictures of previous geology field trips are available here.

A short student made video of the 2013 trip is available on youtube.