The University of Michigan, an encyclopedic survey ... Wilfred B. Shaw, editor.
University of Michigan.
Page  230

THE SCHOOL OF NATURAL RESOURCES

The gradual evolution of the School of Natural Resources in The University of Michigan is evidence that public concern with environmental problems has been a long development and not a sudden awareness. From the first lecture course in forestry, given in the Political Science Department in 1881, down to the present time, the evolution has been marked with increasing sophistication as new fields of knowledge were incorporated through several administrative reorganizations to accommodate an everincreasing role within the University and the country as a whole. The changes that have occurred over the years, and particularly for the period of 1940 to 1971, focus successively on changes in the structure, curriculums, and courses of the school, changes in enrollment, changes in the leadership and faculty, the development of facilities and properties, the role of research and influence in state and national affairs, and finally a look briefly at student affairs and alumni activities.

Structure, Curriculums, and Courses. — Previous accounts in the Michigan Encyclopedic Survey have detailed the development of the Department of Forestry in 1903 under "Daddy" Roth and its evolution into the School of Forestry and Conservation in 1927. The new School of Forestry and Conservation weathered a turbulent era. While scarcely begun, it ran into a period of low enrollment as a consequence of the great depression. This was changed almost overnight by a development of governmental conservation programs under the New Deal, so that by 1933 there was a hugh demand for professionals in forestry and wildlife management. This brought on a burgeoning enrollment period called the "CCC boom." The boom continued for some time after the flush of technical job opportunities had leveled off, and it carried on into the period of World War II when enrollments again plummeted. Then in 1946, with the war terminating, another boom time was a hand with as many as 85 percent of the students in the 1946 to 1950 period attending school on the GI Bill of Rights.

By 1950 the time was right for another change in the School structure. Problems in related resource fields and opportunities for professional training had developed to the extent that a re-evaluation was in order. In 1949 a committee of four eminent conservationists was engaged to Page  231study the situation. The committee report consisted of an analysis of the role of the School in the professions and in the University and made constructive recommendations. The recommendations were not nearly as sweeping, however, as was the reorganization plan submitted in 1950 by Dean Dana. His proposal for a new School of Natural Resources covered a much broader scope. It seemed right for the period and was quickly approved by the faculty and adopted by the Regents. Besides providing professional education for practitioners in the fields of forestry, wood technology, wildlife management, and fisheries management, the new School structure offered concentration programs in such fields as regional planning and general conservation and opened the door for concern with natural resources not covered by strictly professional programs. This broadened structure proved to be attractive at Michigan and was widely copied around the nation in the development of similar programs.

The first twenty years of its history as the School of Natural Resources brought no radical change, but several shifts in emphasis were noteworthy. At the outset there were five departments — Forestry, Wood Technology, Wildlife Management, Fisheries Management, and Conservation. The first three were logical developments from the previous school and meant no significant divergence in courses or staff. Fisheries had been started in the Department of Zoology of the School of Literature, Science, and the Arts, but as the work became more applied, it was logical that it be shifted to the new School. The Department of Conservation was a most farsighted development that at first did not seem to have a place in a professional school. It developed from an opportunity offered to the University in 1949 by the Charles Lathrop Pack Forestry Foundation which granted $10,000 a year for ten years to help in the development of men trained to deal with the entire field of conservation. Stanley A. Cain, a renowned ecologist, became the Charles Lathrop Pack Professor of Conservation, and chairman of the new department when it began operation in the fall of 1950. Under his leadership the department gradually found its place, initially emphasizing the broadening of the graduate training of men who came with professional specialties. Offerings in conservation education were begun in 1952 both on campus for graduate students and by a series of extension courses throughout the state.

In 1961 an arrangement was made with the federal government to bring public employees on campus for a service Page  232training program in public administration. This was originally begun at Harvard and moved to Michigan in 1961. Developments in other fields by the Conservation Department have been in the form of interdisciplinary degree programs, worked out in cooperation with other units of the University. These include a program of natural resource economics in cooperation with the Economics Department, a program in environmental planning and water development in conjunction with the School of Public Health, and programs in Regional Planning and Water Resources Management, and in Water Resources Science. All these developments led to the change in name to the Department of Resource Planning and Conservation (1969) and to a burgeoning enrollment which changed the department from being the smallest to the largest when the enthusiasm for environmental problems developed nationally in the late '60s.

While the Conservation Department was growing, the Department of Wood Science and Technology experienced just the opposite change. The new department got off to a good start in the early '50s with active support from the furniture industry in the form of equipment, scholarships, and research grants; and there seemed to be a good demand for graduates. Little student interest was generated, however, and finally, in 1964, the program was phased out, and the staff transferred to the Department of Forestry.

The problem of small departments of three or four faculty members proved to be of longer duration than had been anticipated at their formation, so in July of 1965 the departments of Fisheries and Wildlife Management were merged for administrative purposes, although separate curriculums were continued. About the time of the phase-out of wood science and the merger of fisheries and wildlife, a new dimension was added to the School when, in 1965, the Department of Landscape Architecture was shifted from the School of Architecture and Design to the School of Natural Resources. This shift was requested by the new department, since their work brought them into close contact in planning activities with our Conservation Department, and in recreational development with recreation courses in the Department of Forestry. The transfer brought in a faculty of 10 members, about 35 undergraduate students and 40 students working on graduate degrees.

Training in recreation is another field of growing national importance. For years the School had taught a single course in forest recreation, but, in 1955, Dr. Grant Sharpe, a forest recreation specialist, was hired to expand the offering. New courses were scheduled in recreation Page  233policy, administration, and design which proved popular with both undergraduate and graduate students. Dean Emeritus Samuel T. Dana served influentially with the Federal Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission which produced, in 1962, a comprehensive plan for national recreational development. Dana's efforts attracted the attention of Laurence Rockefeller, the chairman of the study group, and resulted in his offer to set up an endowed chair in outdoor recreation in the School, if matching funds could be secured. The project became a part of the University's centennial fund drive and was successfully funded by 1969, when the Regents appointed Ross Tocher as the first occupant of the Samuel Trask Dana Professorship in Outdoor Recreation.

In 1965 the School began a naturalist curriculum which was assigned to the Department of Wildlife Management. This curriculum is aimed at preparing graduates for the growing field of natural history interpretation. The subjects in the program cover a broad spectrum of botany, zoology, geology, and natural resources, as well as courses designed to prepare students to interpret nature in schools and to the public. The naturalist curriculum seems to fill a need for students, and to some extent for employers, so that the program has experienced a rapid growth in enrollment.

Another development of the '60s was an interdisciplinary program in Remote Sensing of the Environment. This had a long-term evolution from initial courses in air photointerpretation in our School and elsewhere on the campus, and by the eminence of the University's work in remote sensing at its Institute of Science and Technology, where much research was done for governmental agencies. While the program is cross-campus in nature it has been headed-up in the School of Natural Resources.

Two other interdisciplinary organizations have been promoted within the School of Natural Resources. In 1967 the Environmental Simulation Laboratory was attached to the School's Conservation Department. The laboratory, under the direction of alumnus Richard Duke, is a gaming-simulation complex, federally supported for research in urban planning and the training of urban officials in decision making. The fact that an urban-planning research group should be attached to our School is evidence of the broad interpretation that is being placed by the University on the long-range development of its program.

In 1969 the University was named as one of the Page  234institutions to receive federal funds for research in areas related to the use of the sea and other water resources. At Michigan this Sea Grant Program will be largely confined to the study of the Great Lakes. It is an interdisciplinary program involving many branches of the University, and a broad range of research is contemplated. The administrative office, however, is attached to the School of Natural Resources, and much of the work is centered here.

By the spring of 1969 students and faculty of the School of Natural Resources began to question whether the School, as it was constituted, was meeting to the fullest its responsibilities relating to the management and development of natural resources and to the planning and enhancement of the quality of man's environment. As a result, the faculty requested the appointment of a committee to review the structure of the School and its program and to make recommendations. Accordingly, a 12-man, University-wide committee, under the chairmanship of Vice-President Spurr, was appointed and in the ensuing year made an exhaustive study. In its report the committee felt that the University should establish a College of Environmental Studies of which the School of Natural Resources would form a nucleus. It would provide for mission-oriented and clearly professional programs as are now offered within the current School of Natural Resources and, additionally, a broad liberal arts type of program for students interested in environmental quality and human ecology. While considering such a broad expansion, it recommended that certain immediate changes be made in the School of Natural Resources, which would not be inconsistent with the development of the full environmental college, and that the proposed school-wide, scientifically-oriented undergraduate program be developed immediately to replace the existing departmental programs. The committee, looking toward flexibility, recommended that the graduate programs be such as to permit the creation and evolution of specializations needed to meet society's ever-changing needs.

Acting on the Study Committee's report, the faculty agreed on an organization which would abolish the existing departments but continue its curriculum offerings in six areas. The areas are: Systems Management; Fisheries, Forestry and Wildlife; Resource Ecology; Resource Policy and Administration; Environmental Education; and Landscape Architecture. Each program area will specify its requirements at the master's level and suggest appropriate undergraduate preparation. The broad undergraduate curriculum recommended by the Study Committee was established.

Page  235Changes in Enrollment. — The high enrollments in forestry that accompanied the public works activities of the late '30s had just begun to taper off in 1940 when the threat of war and actual conscription reduced enrollment, so that only 48 students were in attendance in 1943. At this time Dean Dana made a brilliant maneuver that helped keep his staff together. He arranged through the State Department for tuition fellowships that would bring Latin-American students to Ann Arbor for professional forestry training. Altogether in that next two-year period a total of 31 students from 14 countries received fellowships under the program, and this more than doubled the number of professionally trained foresters in Latin America.

The low ebb was followed in 1944 by the strong surge of returning veterans that carried on through 1951. The peak enrollment was in 1949 when 326 were registered in the School, plus 71 in Rackham. Enrollments were quite constant between 1951 and 1964, fluctuating from a low of 144 in the School, plus 30 in Rackham, to a high of 219 in the School and 41 in Rackham. The year 1965 brought 75 students in landscape architecture into the School, and also signaled the beginning of a strong surge that might be attributed to the baby boom that followed the return of veterans from World War II. This also marked the beginning of the widespread citizen interest in ecology and environmental affairs, so that in the fall of 1970 there were 487 students enrolled in The School of Natural Resources and 140 additional Rackham students whose programs were administered by our School.

Graduate numbers have always been a significant part of the School's enrollment. They increased from about 30 percent of the total in 1952 to 51 percent of the total students in 1966. Since 1966, as total enrollment greatly increased, graduate enrollment has remained fairly constant in numbers but diminished to one-third of the total of the student body.

Enrollment in the Forestry Department has remained essentially constant since 1950, but enrollments in other departments have increased, and, since 1966, most dramatically. The 1970-71 records indicate that among undergraduates, 102 were in forestry, 64 in wildlife management, 58 in the naturalist program, 73 in fisheries, 20 in landscape architecture, which had begun to phase out its undergraduate program in 1967, and 181 in resource planning and conservation. Landscape architecture had 35 working on the master's degree.

Page  236The figures seem to indicate that much of the current enrollment increase is from students who are not certain as to a professional orientation, but are interested in environmental matters. It is for this student generalist that the new undergraduate program was developed.

Changes in Leadership and Faculty. — The School of Natural Resources and its predecessor organizations at Michigan have been blessed with a succession of able leaders. Professor Filibert Roth, who headed the department from 1903 to 1923, was an outstanding teacher and leader, whose place was hard to fill. After a doubtfilled interim period, the School entered a 23-year period of success as the School of Forestry and Conservation under the inspiring leadership of Samuel T. Dana, an eminent forester and scholar.

Dana not only conceived the expanded School of Natural Resources, and secured its acceptance with a minimum of time and turmoil, but in 1951 he also selected his own successor, Stanley P. Fontanna of the class of '17, for many years Deputy Director of the Michigan Department of Conservation. Fontanna, who was a skilled administrator and most knowledgeable of Michigan affairs, steered an even course for the next 11-year period until he stepped down in 1962.

The University chose as Fontanna's replacement Stephen H. Spurr, who has been Professor of Silviculture since the summer of 1952. The selection of Dean Spurr was well received by the faculty and students for he had proved himself to be an outstanding scholar, an inspiring teacher, and a skilled administrator. Spurr's administrative accomplishments had been exhibited by his skillful work on the University Calendar Committee that instituted the trimester system, and by his work as an Assistant Vice-President in 1961 and '62. It appears that the Selection Committee chose too well, however, for Spurr was named Dean of the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies in 1965 and later became a Vice-President of the University. He left the University in 1971 to become President of the University of Texas. Spurr's sudden promotion called for an interim dean for the 1965-66 year, and this spot was ably filled by Professor Kenneth P. Davis, Professor of Forest Management, who had been chairman of the Department of Forestry since its inception.

Dr. Keith Arnold took over the School leadership in the summer of 1966, coming to the University from an important administrative post with the U.S. Forest Service. Page  237Arnold, a native Californian, had earned his Ph.D. degree at Michigan in 1950. Again, however, the School was not to have its Dean for long, for in the summer of 1969, Dr. Arnold resigned to become Chief of Research for the Forest Service and a Dean Search Committee was again formed.

The 1969-70 year was a critical one with a School Reorganization Study Committee also functioning, but again an outstanding job was done by an interim appointee, Dr. Stephen Preston. Preston had been head of the Department of Wood Science and Technology until its discontinuance. Then, in the summer of 1970, the University appointed Dr. James T. McFadden to assume the difficult job during a boom year for enrollment and a year in which the School's structure was radically changed. McFadden had joined the faculty in 1966 as an associate professor in fisheries, had become the Chairman of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in 1969, and was also director of the University's interdisciplinary Water Resources and Marine Science program under the National Science Foundation's Sea Grant program. The fact that McFadden, a fisheries ecologist, manager and population dynamacist, was the first nonforester dean is illustrative of the broadened scope of the School as it approaches its 70th year.

Mention was made in the previous section of the Charles Lathrop Pack Forestry Foundation grant that began the professorship in conservation education in 1950 and of the establishment of the Samuel T. Dana Endowed Chair in Outdoor Recreation. An earlier endowment had been received in 1930 for the establishment of the George Willis Pack Professorship in Forest Land Management, which was supplemented by additional funds in 1936. In the early years, the money was used to develop the University's forest properties and to cooperate with other agencies in promoting forestry in Michigan. In 1952 the Pack Professorship was redirected to emphasize forest economics at the teaching level, and a promising forest economist, Dr. G. Robinson Gregory, was added to the staff. This redirection has led to much more emphasis on the economics of forestry and other resource use, to better cooperation with the Economics Department of the Literary College, and to an influential role in the economics of foreign resource development.

Through the years the School has had some outstanding faculty members and to single out a few for special mention is difficult. Dean Dana would certainly deserve mention, since he is one of the founding fathers of the Society of American Foresters and an elder statesman in many forestry Page  238and conservation affairs. Dean Fontanna, Dean Spurr, Dean Arnold, Stephen Preston and Stanley Cain have also been mentioned. Others, who should be included because of their outstanding teaching abilities and contributions in writing and research and their leadership in their profession are: Donald M. Matthews, inspiring teacher and author of two important texts in forest management and logging cost control; Samuel T. Graham, author of the first text in forest entomology and also a well-known ecologist; Shirley Allen, one-time President of the Society of American Foresters; Karl Lagler, first Chairman of the Department of Fisheries and well-known in his field internationally; Kenneth P. Davis, extremely productive author of forest management and forest fire-control texts and present President of the Society of American Foresters; John Bardach, fishery expert of international repute, and also a widely read author on conservation subjects; Lyle Craine, authority on water resource conservation; Robert Zahner, forest soils and tree physiology authority, who was the 1970 winner of the Society of American Foresters research award; and Walter Chambers, the founder of the Department of Landscape Architecture. Dr. Graham's successor in forest entomology, Fred Knight, served most effectively for eleven years before leaving to become Director of the School of Forestry at the University of Maine in 1972.

The development of the faculty over the years of this report can be expressed in the numbers involved in teaching courses. In 1940 there were 13 who had course responsibilities. This rose to 19 in 1950, to 24 in 1960, and to 43 in 1970.

Changes in Facilities and Properties. — The period 1940 to 1971 has seen many changes in the space allotment of the School of Natural Resources. At the beginning of the period, the School was housed in a small part of the Natural Science Building on the main campus in Ann Arbor. This became more and more restrictive as the School grew in enrollment and staff. In 1951 the Conservation Department secured space on the 4th floor of the old Medical Building and thereby staked out a claim for greater use of that structure should it ever become renovated.

Eventually, the West Medical Building was vacated and completely renovated, and, in the summer of 1961, the School moved into the lower three floors. By 1965, however, living within the confines of the three floors had already become difficult, and various rearrangements had to be made. The Landscape Architecture Department continues to occupy an old residence near the Architecture Building and Page  239has not yet been physically united in the School. Also, a number of classes of larger enrollment are now being held in other University buildings and laboratories. Some courses are held at the Botanical Gardens, thus freeing former laboratory space for office and classroom use.

There has been some evolution in the outlying forest properties. Soon after World War II, as Ann Arbor grew around the Eberwhite Woods area on the west boundary of the city, negotiations were made in the hopes of trading the 43-acre property to the city in exchange for a tract of equal value further out in the country. In 1946, however, the Regents voted to give the land to the city with no replacement. While part of the tract has been used for a grammar school, 30 acres are still undeveloped and are still used for field classes. A similar fate probably faces the Saginaw Forest property further west on Liberty Road. This 80-acre tract, which was given to the School in 1903 by Arthur Hill of Saginaw, has some beautiful plantations, some nearly 70 years old, and small Third Sister Lake is nicely sited in the center of the tract. It has become a favorite hiking spot for Ann Arbor residents; and, although the School continues to manage it for class purposes, the decision has been made that its principal future assignment will be recreational research and use.

The Stinchfield Woods property north of Dexter was considerably expanded during the 1943-71 period with the addition of 147 acres in 1947, 230 acres in 1949, and 90 acres in 1955. Also 113 acres and several buildings of the University-owned Newcomb Tract on the east side of Huron River were assigned to the School and have been integrated into the Stinchfield unit.

The Stinchfield property has grown in value to the University in many ways. By courtesy of alumni gifts, the School now has a sawmill that began operation in 1947, and where much of the processing of harvested material is done. In addition to classroom use, the tract serves as a place for the students to gain work experience, since all of the labor of managing the forest is done by students. Also now at Stinchfield Woods are two optical telescopes and one radio telescope run by the Astronomy Department and the 400-foot radio tower of Station WUOM and its transmitting facility. The forest serves as a useful buffer for these installations. Further outstate the School maintains control over the Ringwood Tract near Saginaw, though only management activities have occurred there.

Page  240The most important out-state facility that our School controls is Camp Filibert Roth, located in Iron County Michigan on the west shore of Golden Lake. In 1944 the size of our holding there was increased to 210 acres to protect the campsite and afford a good area for many of the instructional field exercises. Many camp structures were built during this period, so it is now an excellent facility.

The School maintains a building at the University Biological Camp at Douglas Lake and carries on teaching and research activities there each summer.

Research and Service. — Research and service are major activities of any University faculty group. The School of Natural Resources and its predecessor organizations have had a long history of such contributions. Some of it has been on faculty time and some has been promoted by faculty members from various funding organizations to further their own investigations and to provide help for graduate students.

More substantial long-range funding of research seems to be growing. The Federal Government, through the McIntire-Stennis Act, in 1963 began a permanent annual funding of research at schools of forestry throughout the nation. Because Michigan had three forestry schools, the Michigan portion of this money must be split three ways. Our annual allotment for 1971 is approximately $46,000. The projects working from these funds are all in the fields of forestry and wildlife management. The National Science Foundation Sea Grant program and the Environmental Simulation Laboratory attached to the Department of Resource Planning and Conservation have already been mentioned.

Various professors in the University, because of their national and international reputation and expertise, have made considerable contribution. Our School was instrumental in developing the Organization of Tropical Studies which has supported courses and research in Costa Rica. Dr. Spurr and Dr. Preston were both active in the development of this program and many of our students have attended. In the field of recreation, the School, in cooperation with the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation and the Michigan Department of Conservation, conducted a very successful short course in the elements of outdoor recreation planning in the spring of 1968. The School has also made an annual contribution in planning and conducting the International Short Course on the Administration of National Parks and Equivalent Reserves, which was begun in Ann Arbor Page  241in 1965 and continued since in cooperation with the National Park Service and the Department of State.

A three-year research and educational effort by the School to help save the 14,000 acre Sylvania property in Upper Michigan for public recreation and other uses was culminated in 1966 with acquisition of the property by the U.S. Forest Service. Also, in 1966 Dr. Spurr and Dr. Leonard were important members of the committee that studied the economic and ecological feasibility of the Rampart Dam in Alaska, and their report was instrumental in stopping that project. Dr. Cain was on leave of absence from 1965 until 1969 to take the post of Assistant Secretary of Interior in Washington. Dr. Gregory, Dr. Lagler, and Dr. Preston have all been involved in Food and Agricultural Organization administration and consulting in Europe, Africa, and South America.

The Institute of Environmental Quality was announced in the spring of 1970, with Stanley Cain as its director. This is envisioned as an umbrella organization to coordinate within the University all environmental oriented activities, particularly at the graduate and research levels.

In the research field, mention should be made of the pioneer work in logging cost control that was done in the 1940s by Donald Matthews; the work of Samuel Graham and his associates in studying the aspen species; the studies of Dr. Zahner and his associates in the field of forest soils and tree growth; the research of Dr. Barnes in forest genetics; the work of Dr. Baxter in pathology and his studies of fungi of Alaska; the research of Dr. Bardach in fish senses; and the long-term activities of the members of the Department of Wildlife Management in deer-herd control.

Activities of Alumni. — Mention has been made of the fact that the sawmill at Stinchfield Woods was a project begun by the alumni in 1942 and put into operation in 1947. At a 45th reunion in May of '48, attending graduates unveiled a plaque in our building honoring the alumni who gave their lives in World War II, and at that time they established an alumni war memorial award — an annual prize for the outstanding undergraduate student of that year.