Steve BollensStephen Bollens, professor of aquatic ecology at WSU Vancouver, has been named director of the newly designated Meyer’s Point Environmental Field Station.

Located just north of Olympia in a rapidly urbanizing area, Meyer’s Point is a 95-acre parcel of undeveloped land with 2,100 feet of Puget Sound shoreline and extensive terrestrial, wetland and aquatic habitats. The property was bequeathed to WSU in 1990 by Edward R. Meyer to be used to promote environmental education, research and the arts.

Since then, Meyer’s Point has increasingly become a site of scientific activity, training and outreach by several WSU campuses and many partners.

“Momentum behind our effort to encourage faculty, students and the community to utilize Meyer’s Point has been building,” Bollens said. “We now have reached a point where we are ready to take an ambitious step forward in the site’s development.”

An experienced leader

A WSU faculty member since 2004, Bollens began his role as the station’s inaugural director in February.

He is an expert in aquatic ecology, conservation biology and served as the director of the former College of Sciences at WSU Vancouver for seven years and as director of the multi-campus School of the Environment for eight years. In addition to his experience at WSU, Bollens has worked as a resident or visiting faculty member at various other field stations and aquatic laboratories across the country and internationally.

“Steve’s experience leading diverse groups toward a common goal will help WSU develop Meyer’s Point into a valuable environmental research, education, and outreach center that will benefit the greater Puget Sound region, the state of Washington, and the nation,” said Larry Hufford, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Research, education, outreach

Bollens will lead efforts to develop Meyer’s Point into a premiere field station for the study of environmental and related issues at the urban/rural interface.

He was part of a team of WSU scientists and administrators that applied for and received a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Field Stations and Marine Laboratories program last year to spur research and teaching opportunities at Meyer’s Point in this critical area.

Going forward, WSU’s plan is to develop thematic areas of research at Meyer’s Point and to expand internal grant opportunities to help faculty across the university develop teaching, research, and creative activities at the site.

“One of those areas will be around the issue of water science. Another is the interface between agriculture and ecosystems, and a third is people and place in the arts, humanities, and sciences,” Bollens said. “The idea is to embrace the arts and humanities, not just the sciences for this location.”

Outreach

Bollens is currently working to establish new collaborative relationships at Meyer’s Point with The Evergreen State College, St. Martins University and other regional institutions of higher education. He also wants to expand current opportunities for local K-12 schools and members of the community.

“We have a very productive partnership with Olympia High School and have been getting their students on site to examine plant restoration and invasive species for a few years now,” Bollens said. “Moving forward we want to reach out to more K-12 schools as well as members of the local community to participate in hands-on scientific activities at Meyer’s Point. Meaningful hands-on scientific education can be quite transformational to both young and old.”

 

By Will Ferguson, College of Arts and Sciences

Top image: Steve Bollens