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Image of a flower at the Richard A. Santer Nature Preserve at Ferris State University

Richard A. Santer Nature Preserve

A Living Reminder of our Dedication to Nature

The Ferris State Nature Preserve was established in 1988, not as part of a master plan, but due to a need to preserve a natural space amidst campus development.

 The preserve was officially dedicated on June 24, 1988, with the goal of providing free access to nature, in line with the university founder's beliefs. The preserve has faced challenges over the years, including encroachment and safety concerns, but it continues to be a valuable natural space on campus, overseen by a multidisciplinary committee. It serves as a living reminder of the university's dedication to protecting nature for future generations.

Entrance of the Richard A. Santer Nature Preserve at Ferris State University

Preserve Map

Ferris State President's Dedication to Nature

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President Victor Spathelf

"The essence of life can be seen through nature – beauty, wholeness, peace, serenity, functionality and godliness. Let no person dare destroy it, depriving the generations to come."

Victor F. Spathelf
President, 1952 – 1970

President John Smith

"Of all the things future generations may inherit – a living planet is the one they should treasure most. All of us must have reverence for nature. As we assume our responsibilities for the planet, we become participants rather than spectators in the majesty of nature. "

John R. Smith
Acting President, 1970 – 1971

President Robert Ewilgleben

"When one tugs at a single thing in nature, they find it attached to the rest of the world. Education at Ferris is to unsettle the minds of the young and inflame their intellect. This place will serve as a reminder of our commitment to and our joy of nature."

Robert L. Ewilgleben
President, 1971 – 1984

President Helen Popovich

Stripped of autumns finery.
Bare black branches
Lie spiderwebbed against the evening sky.
In them the nature lover sees
Fixed guardians of spring blossoms
And the lush green of summer.

Helen Popovich
President, 1989 - 1994

President William Sederburg

"As humans we are intrinsically dependent on our environment for both sustenance and inspiration. A well-educated person understands and values the relationship."

William A. Sederburg 
President, 1994 – 2003