In 2008 FRF announced the creation and call for applicants for the Flora Richardson Foundation Grants for Research in the Natural Sciences and Natural History. The program, which ran from 2009 to 2013, awarded over $70,000 in grants to undergraduate students conducting individual research projects in the dune area. Eight different university students from four area schools (Indiana University Northwest, Purdue University Calumet, Purdue University North Central, and Valparaiso University) carried out projects in subjects such as analyzing water quality in restored wetlands, documenting sand migration patterns of an active dune, determining effects of pollution on various dune plants, investigating diversity of algae in wetlands, and more.
In 2012, FRF changed the focus of the college-level education programs from individual student research to helping support internships with local conservation and scientific community partners through the GLISTEN program (Great Lakes Innovative Stewardship Through Education Network). The local Calumet Cluster of GLISTEN is run out of Indiana University Northwest (IUN) and provides summer internships at conservation-minded community partners from Lake, Porter, and LaPorte Counties in Indiana with local university students from an array of regional colleges (to date: Calumet College of St. Joseph, Governors State University, Indiana University (two campuses), Ivy tech Community College, Purdue University (two campuses), and Valparaiso University). The student interns, called Stewardship Liaisons, work side-by-side with local conservation and natural science investigators learning about the natural history of the dune region while gaining real job experience. The Stewardship Liaisons investigate real-life problems relating to the ecology of the region and prepare and present their findings in the fall after fieldwork is complete. Several Stewardship Liaisons continue to work through the school year at their home university by assisting faculty with developing field-related lab sessions or using their own field data to teach various concepts in biology, ecology, chemistry, and geology courses at the area colleges.
GLISTEN Stewardship Liaison poster topics by year and links to files