Muter outdoor fund
engaging new audiences with Michigan's
rich outdoor heritage
Meet Our 2020 Scholarship recipients
Grace Macomber ~ SAGINAW, MICHIGAN
Saginaw Valley State University | Biology
Grace is currently in her senior year at Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU) where she is working towards a bachelor’s degree in biology. At SVSU, Grace is pursuing her passion for research and has conducted projects on topics ranging from invasive species and biodegradable materials to animal behavior. These experiences have taken her all around the Great Lakes. Recently, she even had the opportunity to present her animal behavior research at a national conference in Austin, Texas.
Grace grew up swimming, fishing, and sailing on Saginaw Bay with her family and, as a result, has a deep connection to the region. Outside of her academic work, Grace introduced elementary school children to science through SVSU’s Mobile Laboratory; worked as an education coordinator and deckhand on the research schooner Appledore V; and taught children about outdoor ethics and ways to reduce their environmental footprint as a camp counselor with Michigan United Conservation Club’s Michigan Out-Of-Doors Youth Camp.
“I was raised to respect and take care of the outdoors when using it, and that goes back through generations of my family,” she said. “I strive to respect our outdoor heritage and have passed it down to the generations that have come after me through my involvement in different youth programs throughout the state.” After graduating from SVSU, Grace plans to attend graduate school with the goal of bettering the ecological health of global systems. Ultimately, she hopes to become a college biology professor.
Benjamin Short ~ BAY CITY, MICHIGAN
Lake Superior State University | Parks & Recreation Management
Benjamin is entering his junior year at Lake Superior State University (LSSU) where he is majoring in Parks & Recreation Management and minoring in Natural Resource Technology. At LSSU, he serves as the treasurer of the Fish & Wildlife Club which brings together LSSU students with a passion for the outdoors.
Benjamin grew up near Saginaw Bay and has made it a point to work in and give back to his local community. He was an active member of the Youth Advisory Committee of Bay City, which directs funding to youth-focused projects in the Saginaw Bay Region and empowers the voice of young adults. More recently, Benjamin spent the past two summers working at Bay City State Park. While there, he helped conduct youth fishing programs and collaborated with various outreach groups, like the Saginaw Community Action Center, on important maintenance and building projects in the park. This experience provided him with valuable firsthand experience in his field.
Benjamin is passionate about anything having to do with the outdoors and plans to use his degree to work in either the state or national parks system. “I was fortunate to have been introduced to the outdoors at a young age. What made my experiences possible though is that previous generations understood the importance of sustaining the outdoors for future generations,” he said. “My main goal throughout my career is to provide others the same excellent experiences and opportunities in the outdoors I had as a kid.”
Christian Stevens ~ ALPENA, MICHIGAN
Michigan Technological University | Forestry & Wildlife Ecology
Christian is a third-year student at Michigan Technological University (Michigan Tech) and is double majoring in Forestry and Wildlife Ecology & Management. At Michigan Tech, Christian helped establish, and now serves as president of, the Mushing Club, a student-led organization that inspires hard work and dedication through the sport of sled dog racing.
Through the Mushing Club, Christian and his peers assist in the maintenance of two sled dog kennels located in the Keweenaw Peninsula. To date, the organization has now engaged over 60 Michigan Tech students and has helped 14 students take part in professional sled dog races. Personally, Christian has mushed in four sled dog races ranging from 30 to 150 miles in length and has assisted at races throughout Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. “Most of us agree that waking up extra early to complete our homework is worth it to be able to head out to the kennel after classes and take our sled dog teams for a run through the woods,” he said.
Christian also works part-time for the Isle Royale Moose and Wolf Project, the world's longest-running predator and prey study. There, he assists in the organization and record keeping of one of the largest collections of moose and wolf bones. In his free time, Christian enjoys hunting, fishing, off-trail hiking, horseback riding, and spending time with the sled dogs.