About Us

Mission and Goals

The Great Lakes Research and Education Center (GLREC) is part of a network of Research Learning Centers established by the National Park Service in 2000. The role of the Research Learning Centers is to increase the effectiveness and communication of research and science results in national parks. Their goals are to:

  • Facilitate the use of parks for scientific inquiry
  • Support science informed decision making
  • Communicate the relevance of and provide access to knowledge gained through scientific research
  • Promote science literacy and resource stewardship

The GLREC serves 11 parks in the NPS Great Lakes Network. Two staff members and the GLREC field station are located at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The field station has laboratory equipment and office space for visiting scientists interested in pursuing research or monitoring involving natural or cultural resources in the network parks.

Nationwide Connections

Natural Resources Challenge The Great Lakes Research and Education Center is part of a much larger National Park Service (NPS) initiative to advance the management and protection of natural and cultural resources in the National Park System. Called the Natural Resources Challenge (or simply the Challenge), this enterprise is focusing energy, commitment, and resources on the NPS mission to preserve and protect our national heritage for the American people.

Research Learning Centers
A network of Research Learning Centers (RLCs) was developed as a result of the Challenge. Currently 20 RLCs exist across the nation.

Great Lakes Research and Education Center Staff

Desi Robertson, Ph.D., Research Coordinator e-mail (219) 395-1544

Wendy Smith, Education Coordinator e-mail (219) 395-1987


Great Lakes Research and Education Center
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
1100 N. Mineral Springs Road
Porter, IN 46304

Last updated: September 15, 2017