Walking through Michigan’s forests, one may experience many mysterious sightings: humps, bumps, pits, and valleys are all common features. If you look closely, you might also see crooked trees, or random boulders, or old fence posts in the middle of nowhere. But what do all these features mean?
The art and science of reading the clues in the forested landscape to decipher its history is referred to as forest forensics; the concept was developed by Tom Wessels of Antioch University and author of the book Forest Forensics: A Field Guide to Reading the Forested Landscape.
In Michigan, glaciers created most of the landforms we see today, and our forested landscape is fraught with evidence of human influence. From plants grown on old homesteads to fires that burned across the state, the clues remain and tell the story of what once occurred in our Michigan forests.
Join us to learn more!
The 2022 Michigan Forest Forensics program will begin with an introduction of forest forensics in a webinar format, which will also feature a sneak peek at each of the featured history hike locations throughout the state. The schedule, including partner organizations, is listed below.
Thursday, November 3rd from 6:30 – 7:30pm
Forest Forensic Exploration Hikes
Friday, November 4th from 1:00 – 3:00pm in Gladwin County
Hosted by the Clare and Gladwin Conservation Districts in partnership with the Little Forks Conservancy at the George and Sue Lane Preserve
Saturday, November 5th from 12:30 – 3:00pm in Eaton County
Hosted by the Michigan Forest Association in partnership with MSU Extension at the Oak Ridge Park Woods
Saturday, November 5th from 12:00 – 2:00pm in Crawford County
Hosted by MSU Extension in partnership with the Michigan DNR and the Michigan History Center at the site of the CCC Camp Higgins Lake (not the museum location)
Saturday, November 12th from 1:00 – 3:00pm in Marquette County
Hosted by the U.P. Land Conservancy at the Chocolay Bayou Nature Preserve
Saturday, December 3rd from 1:00 – 3:00pm in Barry County
Hosted by Pierce Cedar Creek Institute at an old homestead location on the property
Come prepared by watching recorded webinars
In 2020, MSU Extension partnered with the U.P. Land Conservancy to host a three-part webinar series, Forest Forensics: Ghosts on the Landscape, focused on the history of Michigan’s Landscape. The recordings are available on the U.P. Land Conservancy’s website: https://www.uplandconservancy.org/webinars
You may also watch Tom Wessels himself describe key forest forensic concepts in his You Tube videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcLQz-oR6sw
Details for each history hike location will be provided to registered participants.
Special accommodation requests required two weeks in advance of any history hike.
For more information or to request special accommodations, please contact Julie Crick at firstname.lastname@example.org.