School for Environment and Sustainability (formerly SNRE)
Skip other details (including permanent urls, DOI, citation information)
This work is protected by copyright and may be linked to without seeking permission. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. Please contact email@example.com for more information. :
For more information, read Michigan Publishing's access and usage policy.
The School of Natural Resources and Environment was renamed The School for Environment and Sustainability in 2017.
1. School of Natural Resources and Environment (1942)
THE University of Michigan was the first institution in the United States to give regular instruction in forestry. A few lectures on the subject had been offered previously at two or three eastern institutions, but these had not included it as an integral part of their curriculums. That it was made a part of the curriculum of the School of Political Science, organized in 1881, was due chiefly to Professor Volney Morgan Spalding (’73, Ph.D. Leipzig ’94), who taught the first course. The description in the University Calendar for 1881-82 indicates that Professor Spalding, himself a botanist and therefore thoroughly cognizant of the need for placing forestry on a sound scientific foundation, also recognized its influence on the social and economic welfare of the country:
Forestry. Lectures on the following topics: 1. Historical: early laws and customs; schools of forestry and the forest service of Europe; position of the science in the United States. 2. Influence of Forests upon Human Affairs: the forest as a physical feature of the earth’s surface; climatic and sanitary effects; products. 3. The Forest subject to Human Control: original distribution of forests and changes effected within historical times; preservation and renewal of forests; species for planting; methods of sylvi-culture; regions to be reforested; destructive agents and their control; due proportion of woodland; recent experiments and their results. 4. Forest Legislation: European forest law; existing laws of the United States; necessity of suitable legislation…
This course was offered for four years and dropped shortly before the abandonment of the School of Political Science as a separate unit.
Professor Spalding, however, continued to be active in forestry affairs, both national and state, and wrote several well-known government forestry bulletins. Another advocate of the teaching of forestry in Michigan during this period was Mr. Charles W. Garfield, of Grand Rapids. In 1901, largely at the instigation of these two men, the Board of Regents voted to renew the work started twenty years before. Charles Albert Davis (Bowdoin ’86, Ph.D. Michigan ’05), was appointed special Instructor in Forestry, but actual instruction was not begun until the fall of 1902. In 1903 a separate Department of Forestry, offering instruction of professional caliber, was organized in the Department of Literature, Science, and the Arts under the leadership of Professor Filibert Roth (’90, LL.D. hon. Marquette ’23), who had been one of Professor Spalding’s students, and who was one of the few men in the country who could properly be classed as a technical forester.
The work was organized on a combined undergraduate and graduate basis. Students desiring professional training met the usual requirements for the degree of bachelor of arts, taking a number of forestry electives, and then, after a year’s work in the Graduate School, qualified for the degree of master of science in forestry. The first class to receive this degree graduated in 1904 and consisted of two men, Harry D. Everett, who later lost his life while on active service in the Philippine Islands, and Clyde Leavitt, who became assistant dean of the New York State College of Forestry at Syracuse University. The number of students gradually increased, and by commencement of 1914 sixteen men had received the degree of master of science in forestry.
The curriculum in 1903-4 consisted of ten courses of professional caliber and one course “designed to meet the needs of teachers, students of political economy, and others who wish to acquire a general knowledge of Forestry.” Other courses, both of professional and nonprofessional character, were added as the profession of forestry developed. The staff, which in 1903 consisted of two men, Roth and Davis, increased, and appropriations, equipment, and other facilities for instruction were provided as the department grew. Roth proved to be one of the most capable, inspiring, and beloved teachers known to the forestry profession in America. Foresters from Michigan were conspicuous for the thoroughness of their professional training, their practical ability, enthusiasm, and their high ideals. This helped to gain for the University its position as one of the leading schools of forestry in the country.
An episode which occurred in 1912 showed both Professor Roth’s hold on the students and the attitude of the University toward the Department of Forestry. In January of that year he submitted his resignation in order to become head of the newly established School of Forestry at Cornell University. The gloom caused by this announcement was a tribute to “the man who had come to be known affectionately to all his students as ‘Daddy’ Roth.” There was much rejoicing a month later when his decision to remain at Michigan was announced, a change in plans resulting from the unqualified assurance by the Regents, not only of continued support, but of a marked expansion in the University’s forestry activities.
In the fall of 1912 an important change in the curriculum was made, as a result of which it became possible for students to obtain the degree of bachelor of science in forestry at the end of a four-year prescribed program of study in forestry and prerequisite nonforestry studies. Fourteen graduates received the new degree in 1916. An additional year of graduate study leading to the degree of master of science in forestry continued to be offered, however, and those desiring full professional training were urged to take the five-year program. This arrangement, with occasional modifications in the specific requirements for degrees, has continued in effect.
In 1923 Professor Roth retired after twenty years of devoted and effective service. A penetrating analysis of the resulting situation was presented by President Burton in his annual report for 1923-24:
Instruction in Forestry. — The retirement of our much-beloved Professor Roth and the search for his successor have brought forward the whole question of forestry at the University and made it a problem of major dimensions. It has been the subject of frequent discussions… On the last of these occasions it was definitely decided to defer for another year the appointment of a chairman of the department… But important as may be the question of departmental organization, much larger issues are in the background, involving the whole future of forestry at the University of Michigan. Hitherto, forestry has been a comparatively small department in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, but it may justly be asked whether this relation should continue. It is at best little more than formal. The department has not many interests in common with the Literary College; its field is naturally well defined and marked off from others; its students and alumni recognize themselves as a separate group. In fairness it must be granted that the place of forestry is rather in the University, as an independent unit, than in any existing college of the University. Furthermore, any consideration of this subject must take account of the fact that forestry is also taught by the Agricultural College at East Lansing. Our work must not duplicate theirs. It would seem to be our task to deal with forestry strictly as a University subject; not as an adjunct to agriculture, but as a career in itself. Our department should have in mind the larger services to the state and nation that forestry may contribute, and should give a course which will aim to create experts and investigators as well as recruits for the national forest service and private commercial organizations. In fine, we are at a point where a decision must be made for or against something far more ambitious than we have yet essayed, and providing for the program which a progressive policy would entail necessitates the provision of a very considerable sum of money, perhaps two millions of dollars, as a working basis. No decision has been reached on these important questions, and it is evident that much skillful planning will be called for before the way of the future is clear.
In the fall of 1926 the Regents decided to expand the work in forestry through the establishment of a separate unit to be known as the School of Forestry and Conservation. Samuel Trask Dana (Bowdoin ’04, M. F. Yale ’07, Sc.D. hon. Syracuse ’28), who had had extensive experience in the United States Forest Service, was made Dean. Detailed plans were approved by the Regents in the spring of 1927. These provided that admission to the School should require two years of preliminary college work, and that the unit should “handle instruction, research, and cooperation with other institutions and organizations relating to the protection, production, management, utilization, and influence of forests and their resources,” including tree products (such as wood, resins, and gums), forage, game, fish, and other forms of wild life, and also the influence of forests on climate, erosion, the water supply, recreation, health, and community development.
Attendance, which had dropped during the period of uncertainty as to the future of the department following Professor Roth’s resignation, increased, particularly in the number of out-of-state students. Noteworthy was the growing enrollment in the Graduate School of candidates for the degree of doctor of philosophy with forestry and conservation as their field of specialization. In recent years candidates for the doctorate have specialized in such diverse fields as silvics, silviculture, forest mensuration, forest pathology, forest entomology, forest zoology, forest economics, and wood technology.
After the establishment of the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933 and the expansion of governmental activity in the general field of conservation, popular interest in forestry increased. This was reflected by the number of students applying for admission not only at the University of Michigan but at other schools of forestry. Here attendance, which had doubled during the eight years since the establishment of the School, increased by about 50 percent in 1935-36 and again in 1936-37. In 1939-40 enrollment in the School totaled 187 full-time students. This overtaxed the facilities of the School and created a difficult employment situation, particularly in view of the retrenchment in governmental activity and the hesitation of private owners to embark on comprehensive forestry programs during the 1930’s.
The extension activities of the School were largely in connection with the public school system. In 1927-28 Dean Dana reported to the President:
Effort is therefore being made … to impart some of the more essential information concerning forestry to the general public and more particularly to the school children of the State, not as isolated facts but as an integral part of their regular studies. This work … has the enthusiastic approval of the public school authorities, and in the long run promises to prove particularly effective in bringing about a general understanding of the place of forestry and conservation in the development of the State.
As an aid to this end, the School in 1933 issued a pamphlet, Forestry and School Studies, A Correlation for Elementary Grades, by Professor Ernest V. Jotter. Work was also done in this field with organizations, such as women’s clubs and garden clubs.
The increased emphasis on both extension and research was recognized in 1930 by the establishment of definite bureaus in these fields. In 1932 the School initiated a series of Bulletins and in 1937 a separate series of Circulars.
As the University’s interest in forestry and conservation has grown the School’s physical facilities have increased. In 1904 Regent Hill made provision for a much needed field laboratory through the gift of the “Saginaw Forestry Farm” on West Liberty Street, an area familiar not only to foresters but to students and graduates in other fields. Other gifts of land include the Stinchfield Woods, near Dexter, and Ringwood, near St. Charles. The Eber White Woods, just outside Ann Arbor, was purchased by the Regents in 1915. The School supervises forestry activities on the 3,900-acre tract of the Biological Station in Cheboygan County and also administers the 3,035 acres on Sugar Island in Chippewa County which were presented to the University in 1929 by former Governor Chase S. Osborn. In addition to these properties, which represent a wide variety of forest conditions in different parts of the state, mention should be made of the excellent forestry library and of the mechanical and scientific equipment which is now available for instruction and research.
The School has been fortunate in receiving gifts of money as well as of land and equipment. The most important of these came in 1930, when Mr. Charles Lathrop Pack, of Lakewood, New Jersey, established the George Willis Pack Forestry Foundation of $200,000 for the promotion of forest land management. In his letter offering this gift to the Regents Mr. Pack stated:
This foundation is established in the University of Michigan on account of its prestige, its facilities for teaching … all phases of practical forestry, and its experienced staff; and on the definite assurance from the Board of Regents that the School of Forestry and Conservation has its hearty support and will continue to be developed as an outstanding institution as rapidly as the resources of the University permit.
(R.P., 1929-32, p. 161.)
Substantial additions to the income from this foundation have been made from the Charles Lathrop Pack Forestry Trust through the interest of Captain Arthur N. Pack, director of the trust. As a result of the endowment the University has been able to develop its forest properties and to co-operate with federal, state, and private agencies in the promotion of forestry to an extent that would otherwise have been impossible.
Still further development along similar lines was made possible in 1936 by a three-year grant of $7,500 a year from the same trust for the establishment of the Charles Lathrop Pack Professorship of Wild Land Utilization. This grant, which was made through the interest of Captain Pack, made it possible for the School to participate more effectively than it could otherwise have done in the program of research in land utilization being developed in the University under the auspices of the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies.
Other financial contributions, chiefly for research, have been received from the Michigan Division of the Izaak Walton League of America, the American Game Association, the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute, the Michigan Department of Conservation, and the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners. The contacts which the School has maintained have been helpful in bringing about a better understanding of the wild land problems of the state and in paving the way for common action in their solution.
The faculty of the School in 1940 consisted of Shirley W. Allen (Iowa State ’09, M.F. ibid. ’29), Professor of Forestry, Dow V. Baxter (’21, Ph.D. ’24), Associate Professor of Silvics and Forest Pathology, Willard S. Bromley (B.S.F. Pennsylvania State ’31, M.F. Yale ’39), Assistant Professor of Wild Land Utilization, Robert Craig, Jr., (B.S. Alma College ’08, M.S.F. Michigan ’10), Associate Professor of Forest Utilization, Samuel A. Graham (Minnesota ’14, Ph.D. ibid. ’21, M.F. Cornell ’16), Professor of Economic Zoology, William Kynoch (Toronto ’14, F.E. ibid. ’18), Professor of Wood Technology, Donald M. Matthews (’08, M.S.F. ’09), Professor of Forest Management, Frank Murray (New York State Ranger School), Forest Manager, Earl C. O’Roke (Kansas ’12, Ph.D. California ’29), Associate Professor of Forest Zoology, Willett F. Ramsdell (’12, M.S.F. ’14), George Willis Pack Professor of Forest Land Management, Howard M. Wight (Bates ’15, M.S. Oregon State ’17), Associate Professor of Forest Zoology, and Leigh J. Young (’09, M.S.F. ’11), Professor of Silviculture.
Forestry in the United States achieved recognition as a definite profession at about the beginning of the present century. Since then it has expanded tremendously in scope and in personnel requirements. This evolution in the profession as a whole has been accompanied by a similar evolution at the University of Michigan, which, as occasion arose, has consistently strengthened and enlarged its forestry activities to meet the changing needs of the times. The success of this policy is indicated by the standing of its alumni, who occupy positions of leadership in every part of the country and in every branch of the profession. Practical recognition of the School’s standing was afforded by the rating of 94.79 which it received in a study of professional forestry schools made in 1934 and 1935 by the Council of the Society of American Foresters and its designation by the Council as one of the four “distinguished” schools of forestry in the country.
The establishment of the present School of Forestry and Conservation was a logical, perhaps an inevitable, step forward in this evolution. Three features of its program are particularly worthy of note: the broad scope of the activities assigned to the School, comprising as they do the entire range of problems involved in the management of wild lands and their included waters; the emphasis on advanced work leading to the master’s and the doctor’s degrees; and the inclusion of research and extension, with instruction, as important lines of endeavor. The word “conservation” was added to the name of the School to call attention to its broad range of activities, and to its emphasis on the philosophy of conservation as a guiding principle in the development of the nation’s resources. Perhaps one of the most marked features in the evolution of the School has been the flexibility of its program and its readiness to modify its program to meet changing conditions.
– Samuel T. Dana
- Announcement, School of Forestry and Conservation, Univ. Mich., 1927-40.
- Calendar, Univ. Mich., 1881-1914.
- Catalogue …, Univ. Mich., 1914-23.Catalogue and Register, Univ. Mich., 1923-27.
- President’s Report, Univ. Mich., 1881-1909, 1920-40.
- Proceedings of the Board of Regents …, 1881-1940.
- Young, Leigh G.”Growth and Cultural Experiments on the Saginaw Forest.”Papers Mich. Acad., 9 (1929): 541-94.
Timber research has two general objectives: to establish the facts regarding the physical, anatomical, mechanical, chemical, pathological, and other properties or characteristics of woods and to correlate these with the conditions under which the timber is grown, and to devise means of modifying these properties or characteristics and thus increase the usefulness and value of timber as a material.
Application of properly established research findings in the wood industries is a good business. Timber research, however, is relatively new, and a lag has existed in the employment of research results, which undoubtedly has entailed an economic waste and loss of serious proportions.
An appreciation of this state of affairs, arising from contact with the wood industries over a number of years, resulted in a combination in technical education at the University of Michigan. The conception behind this program is that a technical man in the wood industries must be trained both in engineering and in wood technology.
Some work in wood technology had been given at the University since the early days of forestry education, and as far back as 1903 a course known as Timber Physics, dealing with the structure and properties, and with the relationship of these to the uses of woods, was open to students in engineering and forestry. In 1912-13 a course in wood technology included work in wood identification, the physical, mechanical, and chemical properties of wood, its seasoning and preservative treatment, and wood distillation.
In 1917-18, and for some years thereafter, a course entitled Forestry for Engineers was offered. In 1927, when the School of Forestry and Conservation was established as a separate unit of the University, William Kynoch was appointed Associate Professor of the Chemical Utilization of Wood, and plans were made to expand the instructional work in wood technology as well as to provide some facilities for research in this field. The courses dealing with the minute structure, identification, and physical properties of wood, and with timber mechanics, were amplified and have since kept pace with advances in these lines. The following year a drying kiln and a pressure wood impregnation plant were installed, and new courses dealing with kiln drying, preservation, and fire retardation, and the chemical utilization of wood were given. Later, a power-operated testing machine and accessory equipment were added, and enlarged laboratory space and facilities were provided.
In 1931-32 the work in wood technology was strengthened by the introduction of courses on the control of insects injurious to wood products and on the pathology of wood, and in 1935-36 a course on plywood and laminated construction, which included work on adhesives and wood-adhesive relations, was added.
These developments made it possible for students to obtain a sound and well-rounded training in wood technology. In 1934 a plan was worked out with the College of Engineering for the establishment of a combined curriculum in engineering and wood technology. The combined course required the student to spend three years in the College of Engineering, where his program was essentially the same as that followed by those preparing to qualify in mechanical engineering. On completion of this part of the work, with acceptable standing, the student transferred to the School of Forestry and Conservation. On satisfactory completion of one year’s work in this School, following the wood technology program, he became eligible for the degree of bachelor of science in engineering, and after a further year, it was possible to secure the degree of master of forestry (wood utilization). So far as can be ascertained, Michigan is the first institution of higher education in this country to have developed such a program. This combined curriculum has provided an adequate training for technical employment in the wood industries. After gaining the necessary practical experience, men with this preparation were able to assist materially in the effective linking of timber research with industry.
– William Kynoch
Before the organization of the School of Forestry and Conservation in 1927, no courses in forest zoology were offered, and research concerned with the management or control of forest animals was of a casual nature. Increasing recognition of the importance of animal life in the forest led to demands in this field which have been met through courses and research in the School.
In teaching and research it is necessary to consider forest animals not only as individual entities, but also in their relation to each other and to the plants with which they are associated. Thus, forest zoology requires an ecological approach, and courses in this field are strongly influenced by this requirement. They include a general course in forest zoology, courses in the economic relations and management of forest animals, pathology of forest animals, range management, forest entomology, and forest ecology. These courses provide for the needs of students who expect to enter the field of timber production or utilization, those in the general field of wildland management, and those who plan to enter some field of forest zoology. Although a student may elect several courses in forest zoology as an undergraduate, specialization involves graduate study.
Considerable research has been conducted by staff members and graduate students. Attention was given by Professor Howard M. Wight to the ecology and management of the pheasant and to the animals with which it is associated in southern Michigan. Some of the results of this work have been published. A study of the Hungarian partridge and one of the biology and management of the cottontail rabbit were made.
In the field of animal pathology Assistant Professor Earl C. O’Roke has published the results of his studies concerning the Leucocytozoon disease of ducks and the diseases of deer, including those caused by lungworms and other organisms associated with winter mortality.
In the field of forest entomology numerous studies have been carried on by Samuel A. Graham, Professor of Economic Zoology, and have been concerned with defoliators, especially the ecology and control of the spruce budworm on pine, the effects of walking-stick insects on forest areas, the larch sawfly, and the larch casebearer. Much time has been devoted to searching for control measures for white grubs in forest plantations.
The research work in forest zoology has been supported in part by regular University funds, but financial and other support has also been given by the State Department of Conservation, the Izaak Walton League of America, the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Association, the United States Forest Service, the Bureau of Entomology, and the United States Department of Agriculture. Especially close relationship is maintained with the Forest Service and with the Bureau of Entomology through collaboration arrangements for an official station here.
– Samuel A. Graham
The advances made in plant pathology did not begin until almost the close of the nineteenth century. The United States government first recognized the science in 1885. In 1886 Dr. Erwin F. Smith (’86, ScD. ’89, LL.D. hon. ’22, Sc.D. Wisconsin ’14), “dean of the American phytopathologists,” was appointed assistant to Dr. F. Lamson Scribner, mycologist of the newly created section of the Botanical Division of the United States Department of Agriculture. Another man whose name will always be associated with important advances in plant pathology was Lewis R. Jones (’89, Ph.D. ’04, LL.D. hon. ’35), who had been a fellow student of Filibert Roth at the University. Two years after the first department of plant pathology was formed (Cornell, 1907), a department was established at the University of Wisconsin with Professor Jones at its head. He made important studies on the relation of environment to plant disease.
Forest pathology, like plant pathology, received stimulus in the Department of Botany, and attention in the University was attracted to this field at about the same time that the importance of fungus diseases was first given consideration in the nation. It is difficult to separate the first courses offered at the University on structure and classification of fungi from those which were concerned primarily with diseases of plants and forest trees. Although forest fungi were studied as early as 1905, James B. Pollock (Wisconsin ’93, Sc.D. Michigan ’97), Assistant Professor of Botany, offered the first course which specifically called attention to forest pathology.
The description of this first course reads in part:
Morphology, and Classification of Fungi. … This course with Course 8 is preparatory to research in pathology. The first part of the semester will be spent in collecting and classifying fungi, with special reference to forms causing diseases of trees. The latter work will include the study of the larger groups, and the preparation of lists of literature and reports on assigned topics.
Michigan’s first forestry student, C. L. Hill (’01, M.S.F. ibid. ’05), Assistant Professor of Forestry (1909-12), entered the United States Service and worked on the prevention of wood decay by the use of timber preservatives. The preservative treatment of wood received commendation equal to that of conservative use of the forest itself. Both were parts of a great movement to prevent timber famine.
The name of another early graduate, Roy G. Pierce (Nebraska ’07, M.S.F. Michigan ’08), will always be associated with the control work that the government has done against foreign fungus pests which attack trees. His familiarity with the exotic Endothia parasitica and the damage it was causing in the chestnut forests of the East prepared him for a key position in the fight against the blister rust, a pest new to North America.
Forest pathology at that time was still considered as more or less subsidiary to other work. The subject has been required as part of a course in botany and has been given under such names as Forest Protection, Forest Botany, and Forestry. As the Department of Forestry grew, Roth insisted upon forest pathology as a fundamental requirement for a degree in forestry. Work was developed primarily for students intending to study forestry, and later the course was arranged for foresters only. It was given in 1916 by Assistant Professor Calvin H. Kauffman (Harvard ’96, Ph.D. Michigan ’07), who built up a large reference collection of valuable specimens for timber disease study and did much toward laying the foundation for forest pathology. The required term report on heart rot is remembered by all who came under Kauffman’s influence, and older graduates regard the New Richmond field trips with him as high spots in their University careers. During this period emphasis was given not so much to the accumulation of known facts as to stimulating original observation.
New concepts in forest pathology were developed, and old ones were modified when the study of this subject became a definite part of the curriculum in the School of Forestry and Conservation. Professor Dow V. Baxter was given charge of this work. The diseased tree and forest became the central focus, and mycology, although still considered fundamental to the training of the specialist, did not absorb the major interest.
With opportunities strengthened for the training of specialists, emphasis in the beginning course in pathology was designed to give the Michigan forester a background and working knowledge of fundamentals upon which he could draw.
An added course called Pathology of Wood was offered in 1931-32. Intended for students of wood technology and engineering, it dealt with the growth requirements of the decay- and stain-causing fungi by actual experiments made in the laboratory. Toxicity studies were conducted and, in contrast to early policies of conservation, the methods used for stain and decay prevention and control were employed in many ways to extend the usefulness of wood and its products. The laboratory work was supplemented by an annual inspection trip to the United States Forest Products Laboratory at Madison, Wisconsin.
For advanced work in products pathology, and for special problems, a dry kiln, a timber-treating plant, and testing machines were made available. This wood technology laboratory, established in 1927 under the direction of Professor William Kynoch, has been open to students working in both forest and products pathology.
– Dow V. Baxter
Forest Properties of the School of Forestry and Conservation
A forestry school must have a forestry laboratory. To be of maximum value this should be near enough to the school to be reached at any time. The School of Forestry and Conservation is fortunate in owning forests which are easily accessible.
Shortly after the establishment of the Forestry Department in 1903, Arthur Hill, of Saginaw, former lumberman and Regent of the University, presented a tract of eighty acres to the University for the use of the department. The area is about four miles from the campus on West Liberty Road, and under the terms of the deed was designated as the Saginaw Forestry Farm. At that time part of it had so deteriorated that cultivation had been abandoned, and the remainder was still under lease for crop production. In 1904 several coniferous plantations were established on the idle part of the tract. Additional planting was done each year until by 1915 the entire plantable area had been covered. By 1928 fifty-five acres were in forest plantations, consisting of nine coniferous species and twelve hardwoods. The balance of the area comprises a lake of eleven acres, swampy ground, an arboretum, natural second growth on slopes that were never cultivated, and roads. Thirteen additional species were planted in the Arboretum. A detailed history of the various plantations by Professor Leigh J. Young has been published in Volume IX of the Papers of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters under the title, “Growth and Cultural Experiments on the Saginaw Forest.”
In 1919 the name was changed to Saginaw Forest. At that time a stone cabin was built near the shore of the lake. Most of the annual forestry camp fires and field days are held there. A short distance from the cabin, a large stone with an appropriate bronze tablet was erected by the students in 1927 as a memorial to Professor Filibert Roth, the first head of the Forestry Department.
A second property became available in 1915 through the purchase by the Regents of a wooded tract of forty-three acres on West Liberty Road just outside the city limits. This area, a part of the former Eber White estate, was named the Eber White Woods. Because of long freedom from fire and grazing these woods were in unusually fine condition. Previous cuttings had been restricted, so that many of the older trees were still standing. The value of the woods was still further enhanced by the richness of its composition.
A plan of management was adopted in 1917. Under this plan, cuttings have been made every year on what is known as a “selection” basis. As a result of this system of cutting, the woods have been maintained in an irregular, uneven-aged condition, which closely resembles that of a natural woods. As the removal of wood has been less than the amount of new growth, the present volume is greater than it was in 1917. The value of the present volume is also higher per unit, because more of it is contained in shapelier trees and trees of the more valuable species.
In 1925 Mrs. Charles Stinchfield, of Detroit, made the University a gift of $10,000 for the purchase of the area known as Stinchfield Woods, so named because the woods are to remain a memorial to Charles and Jacob W. Stinch-field, her husband and his father, respectively. These woods, with an area slightly under 320 acres, are situated south of Portage Lake about fifteen miles from the campus. About 110 acres are in oak-hickory woods. The remainder, cleared fields at the time of purchase, has almost all been planted. Planting began in 1925 and has consisted mostly of seven species of pine with some small groups of other coniferous species. The native hardwoods on this area differ radically from those of the Eber White Woods in a number of important respects, and the composition is much more simple. As soon as the property was acquired, grazing was stopped. Cleared firebreaks, constructed along the boundaries, have helped to prevent the occurrence of any damage from fire. As most of the soils are marginal, if not submarginal, agriculturally, this area has afforded an opportunity to demonstrate what might be done on lands of this general character in the direction of forest production.
Three plantings at the Stinchfield Woods have been established as separate memorials. The first of these, an area of about 1,500 trees, was dedicated to George Washington in commemoration of the Washington Bicentennial. In the spring of 1937 a plantation of Norway pine was established in the name of Charles Lathrop Pack, and trees were also planted in honor of the members of the Board of Regents serving at that time.
A tract of 160 acres was presented to the University for the use of the School of Forestry and Conservation by Mr. Clark L. Ring, of Saginaw, in December, 1930. The tract contained thirty to thirty-five year old plantations of European larch, Scotch pine, black locust, white ash, and other species.
The chase s. osborn preserve. — In 1929 Chase S. Osborn presented to the University 3,035 acres of land immediately below Sault Ste Marie on Sugar Island, which is in the St. Mary’s River, the connecting link between Lake Superior and Lake Huron. About 2,500 acres near the south end of the island, beautifully situated along the river channel facing the Canadian shore, are well blocked and heavily wooded. Duck Island, which lies close to the Sugar Island shore and is actually connected to it at the lower end during low water, comprises a part of the tract. Mr. Osborn occupied this island with its two log cabins and fireproof library each summer, and the huge log “Gander” cabin on the main island has been headquarters for University activities. The main body of the tract has nearly eight miles of shore line, of which about five miles are highland and three miles lowland.
This magnificent gift to the University was “principally for research and instruction in the natural sciences and forestry.” Until November, 1935, its general administration was in the hands of the Committee on University Lands Used for Instruction and Research, at which time it was transferred to the Summer Session, under the continued custodianship of the George Willis Pack Professor of Forest Land Management. Considerable forestry development and research have been carried out.
– Leigh J. Young and Willett F. Ramsdell
The George Willis Pack Foundation and Professorship
In 1930 the George Willis Pack Forestry Foundation was established by a gift of $200,000 from Charles Lathrop Pack, of Lakewood, New Jersey. The foundation was named in honor of the donor’s father, who was one of the early lumbermen in Michigan, and was given for “the promotion of practical forest land management in the broadest sense of the term.” It was stipulated that an experienced forester, to be known as the George Willis Pack Professor of Forest Land Management, should devote his time chiefly to furthering the practice of forestry in the woods rather than in the classroom. In extending the gift to the Board of Regents, the donor stated that the “foundation is established in the University of Michigan on account of its prestige, its facilities for teaching the broad principles of all phases of practical forestry, and its experienced staff.”
Since 1930 the foundation income has been supplemented by annual cash grants of from $3,500 to $6,000 from the Charles Lathrop Pack Forestry Trust. These generous gifts have provided funds for the extensive program carried on by the foundation.
In June, 1930, Willett F. Ramsdell, who had had wide experience in the problems of forest land management in the United States Forest Service, was appointed to the foundation professorship. At the time of his appointment he was Assistant District Forester of the North Central and Lake States regions.
In accordance with provisions of the foundation, work has been stressed in three primary fields. First, there has been great progress in the development of the University forest and wild land properties, in northern Michigan. At the University Biological Station tract near Douglas Lake, approximately 3,000 acres are under intensive development as a demonstration forest and forestry research center. This work is conducted in co-operation with and according to plans worked out with the Director of the Biological Station, in order that forestry activities may supplement the primary objective of the Station. The University’s Chase S. Osborn Preserve on Sugar Island is similarly the center of applied forestry research and practice. Work has also been done at Ringwood, in the Saginaw Valley. In this phase of the foundation program carried out during the summer periods, Professor Leigh J. Young has taken an active part.
The second major field of activity has been co-operation with and participation in the programs of the public forestry and conservation agencies active in Michigan and the Lake States regions. These programs had tremendous impetus during the depression years because they were among the more practical and popular of the so-called work-relief outlets. Through the foundation, the University played an active part in the Civilian Conservation Corps program in Michigan, aiding in the general programs of the State Department of Conservation, the United States Forest Service, and the Land Planning Section of the Resettlement Administration.
The third field of activity consisted of co-operative work with private timberland owners, operators, and companies, particularly the Northern Hemlock and Hardwood Manufacturers’ Association. Co-operative studies have been made, special studies and reports on forest taxation prepared, and assistance given in furthering sound tax legislation.
– Willett F. Ramsdell
The Charles Lathrop Pack Professorship of Wild Land Utilization
Because of the success of the University activities under the George Willis Pack Forestry Foundation, a new professorship in wild land utilization was established in June, 1936, for a three-year period. This was provided for by a grant from the Charles Lathrop Pack Forestry Trust, of which Arthur Newton Pack, a son of Charles Lathrop Pack, in whose honor the professorship was named, was made trustee. Lee Roy Schoenmann (Wisconsin ’11), who was appointed to the position in August, 1936, had been for eight years director of the Michigan Land Economic Survey, and was in immediate charge of the organization and administration of the Michigan CCC state forestry camps. Schoenmann resigned in 1937, and the position was filled in 1938 by the appointment on a twelve months’ basis of Horace Justin Andrews (’15, M.S.F. ’16).
– Willett F. Ramsdell
The Bureau of Forest Extension
The establishment of the Bureau of Forest Extension in the School of Forestry and Conservation in 1930 strengthened the extension work which had been undertaken in 1928 under the direction of Shirley W. Allen. Professor Ernst V. Jotter (’08, M.S.F. ’09) was assigned full time to the Bureau, and Allen gave half time to the extension projects. Dean Dana headed the work, and other members of the faculty were also called upon by timberland owners for lectures, demonstrations, and advice. The work of Willett F. Ramsdell, George Willis Pack Professor of Forest Land Management, although under the Bureau, was separately financed. Close co-operation with the University Extension Service has been maintained in all forest extension work.
The public spirited efforts of Filibert Roth during his many years of service contributed largely to the success of the Bureau. Typical projects upon which service has been concentrated since 1928 include the preparation of aids for teachers who use forestry subject matter in public school courses. These include actual forestry lessons, Arbor Day programs, lantern slide collections, plans for contests, material and bibliographies, circulars and charts from the federal government, the state, and the forest- and wood-using industries, and loan exhibits of strong construction and up-to-date materials.
At the request of the Michigan Department of Conservation a program of co-operation in training the department’s field officers to promote forest fire prevention through work with the rural schools was carried on for four years. From two to four counties a year were covered in the fire-hazardous districts of the state.
From 1928 to 1940 field training of public school teachers in forestry and wild-life instruction methods reached more than 3,000 teachers and prospective teachers. Indoor addresses and demonstrations reached as many more, and help has been given individual high-school teachers in planning field and laboratory projects.
Work by conservation committees and public addresses throughout the state to service clubs, women’s organizations, and sportsmen’s groups have reached an average of ten to twenty thousand people a year, and the results have included a Community Forest Law passed in 1931, a campaign by the Federated Garden Clubs of Michigan in the spring of 1935 to stop the useless burning of marshes and forest lands, a conservation institute for women held at the University in 1935, the establishment of preforestry curriculums in various colleges in the state, and requests for services of representatives of the Bureau in preparing material for the use of educational advisers in the Civilian Conservation Corps camps.
– Shirley W. Allen
- President’s Report, Univ. Mich., 1930-40.
- Proceedings of the Board of Regents …, 1930-40
2. School of Natural Resources and Environment (1975)
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 study 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 training 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 policy, 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 institutions 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. Changes 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. The 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. Arnold, 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 and 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 has 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. The 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 in 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.
3. School of Natural Resources and Environment (2015)
Both the name and the mission of the School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE) have changed over time. When it was created in 1903, the primary purpose of what was then called the Department of Forestry was the wise management of forested lands. This primarily meant sustaining those lands as sources of clean water and wood products. By 1927, the Department of Forestry had evolved into the School of Forestry and Conservation—the first of its kind in the United States. Then, in 1950, the name again was changed, this time to the School of Natural Resources (SNR), which underscored the interconnected nature of terrestrial and aquatic systems. Over the next four decades, a growing understanding of the complexity of natural systems led to a focus on ecosystems and their management. Ultimately, in 1992, the school added the word “Environment” to its name, signaling the need to further integrate urban and industrial systems into its teaching and research programs.
On the heels of several major environmental teach-ins across the country—the largest and most visible of which was held at the University of Michigan in March 1970—Earth Day was first celebrated worldwide in April 1970. The events reflected a national awakening that put the environment front and center in American life. A series of milestones—Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring, published in the early 1960s, and the passage of the Wilderness Act, Clear Air and Clean Water Acts, and the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA)—all were instrumental in channeling public energy toward this new movement.
The four-day teach-in at U-M was a key momentum builder for the Earth Day movement, inspiring roughly 10,000 schools and colleges to hold their own teach-in events. That same year a university-wide committee, headed by Stephen Spurr, a former dean of SNR who had become a U-M vice president, recommended that U-M establish a College of Environment Studies of which SNR would be a part. Although the proposed college never came to fruition, SNR initiated a revised structure and curriculum along the lines recommended by Spurr’s committee. In the midst of restructuring and enrollment leaps, 1970 also brought the School a new dean: James T. McFadden. As a fisheries ecologist, McFadden was the first dean whose expertise was not as a forester, a pattern that has persisted except for two interim deans.
The 1970s marked major changes on the national and local scenes that expanded SNR’s mission. Not only did enrollment increase dramatically, but many students were focused less on the specific professional areas of fisheries, forestry, and wildlife management, and more on broader environmental issues. Expansion of the school’s expertise in social science in the 1970s reflected the importance of planned social change and intentional design as ways to achieve effective management of natural resources. By 1974, SNR had a new dean whose training was not as a scientist. As the co-founder of a prominent landscape architecture firm, William J. Johnson had held a part-time faculty appointment in landscape architecture. His deanship ended in 1983 in the midst of dramatic changes as the University was considering ways to downsize its budget. SNR was one of the campus units slated for major reduction, launching yet another wave of restructuring and reprioritizing. Johnson was replaced as dean by James E. Crowfoot, the first social scientist to serve in that role at SNR.
From 1972 to 2015, the number of SNR faculty remained roughly the same, but the School’s research program expanded dramatically. In 2015, Interim Dean Daniel G. Brown took the helm of SNRE following the departure of Dean Marie Lynn Miranda. (Appendix 1 lists deans and their terms.)
“The School of Natural Resources and Environment’s overarching objective is to contribute to the protection of the Earth’s resources and the achievement of a sustainable society. Through research, teaching, and outreach, faculty, staff, and students are devoted to generating knowledge and developing policies, techniques, and skills to help practitioners manage and conserve natural and environmental resources to meet the full range of human needs on a sustainable basis.”
This mission statement first appeared in 1996. However, the focus on achieving a sustainable society has long been the school’s core focus. An earlier mission statement, adopted in 1983, committed the school to provide “leadership in the generation of knowledge and the development of policies and skills to help practitioners manage and conserve natural and environmental resources to meet the full range of human needs on a sustainable basis.”
Along with sustainability, the school has had a continuing focus on both application and interdisciplinarity. Long before the theory of coupled natural and social systems, the school’s thrust had been to enhance and apply knowledge of environmental issues by understanding the integral relationship between biophysical and social dimensions. This is evident in the curriculum, faculty research, and many collaborative efforts both within SNRE and across campus. The school’s wide-ranging expertise—in ecological science, ecosystem management and restoration, design and planning, policy and decision-making, entrepreneurship and behavior change—offers the foundation and tools for addressing paths to more sustainable solutions. This broad range of expertise and the commitment to interdisciplinarity have long been hallmarks of SNRE.
Student enrollment in the School has changed over time. Some changes reflect societal concerns, some result from intentional shifts, and others come despite great effort to counteract them. Whatever the basis, these changes have played a central role in the life of the school. They are closely intertwined with resource allocations, programmatic changes, and the shared sense of community.
The widespread environmental awareness that generated Earth Day was strongly mirrored in the School’s enrollment, especially at the undergraduate level. Between 1965 and 1970, the number of undergraduate students in the School doubled. By 1975, undergraduate enrollment was triple what it had been a decade earlier. The 1980s, however, began with a major national recession that hit the auto industry, and thus Michigan, particularly hard. The impacts were painful in many ways, including a significant decline in enrollment. By 1985, the School’s undergraduate enrollment was roughly where it had been 20 years earlier (Table 1). The silver lining only came years later, in the 1990s and 2000s, at which point the University could look back and pride itself on what it had learned from the financial struggles of this decade.
|Year||Undergraduate||SNR grad||Rackham M.S. & M.L.A.||Rackham Ph.D.||Grad total|
During the late 1980s, SNRE introduced a new undergraduate program leading to a bachelor of science in natural resources. The program was part of a more general revision of academic programs undertaken to meet the changing requirements for trained environmental professionals and a more efficient educational organization. Undergraduate enrollment did rise, and throughout the 1990s the School launched numerous initiatives to sustain and increase it. For example, an honors program, launched in 1977, was implemented partially as a recruitment tool.
By the turn of the twenty-first century, SNRE had phased out its undergraduate program and joined forces with the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA) to offer the Program in the Environment (PitE). This endeavor was seen as an opportunity to expose students to environmental issues campus-wide. Managed through LSA, PitE draws on faculty from across the university. SNRE faculty are, of course, heavily involved in the program. The first PitE students, who enrolled in 2002, could concentrate in areas leading to B.S. or B.A. degrees, as well as a minor.
During the same period, SNRE increased its emphasis on the master’s program. By 2000, it was apparent that SNRE was attracting too few students seeking professional master’s degrees. Student interests had shifted to embrace broader environmental issues. (As Table 1 shows, before 2005, changes in graduate enrollment were not as significant as undergraduate numbers.) Consequently, it was not practical to maintain specialized courses required for accreditation. A decision was made in 2009 not to pursue renewal of accreditation by the Society of American Foresters and the forestry program was eliminated. The shift in the undergraduate program to PitE had important consequences, both curricular and financial, strongly redirecting the school’s focus to its graduate professional program and, in time, to major increases in master’s-level enrollment.
The doctoral program, by contrast, faced different constraints with respect to its size in the years from 2005 to 2015. Though it had always been a small program, enrollments of entering classes varied widely. In the 27 years that all Ph.D. students have taken “Research Paradigms,” that course’s enrollment has varied between four and 22 students. With the Rackham Graduate School’s move to a fully funded model, the high costs of a doctoral program necessitated limiting the size of each entering cohort. At the same time, Rackham’s initiation of continuous enrollment motivated some long-term students to complete their dissertations and others not to prolong the process. Between 1990 and 2004, the number of Ph.D. students completing their degrees in seven or fewer years rose from 66 percent to 87 percent (averaged over five-year intervals). In response to these changes, revisions in the doctoral program have provided secure funding as well as shortening time to candidacy and degree completion.
Evolution of programmatic structure
Faculty governance and curricular programs have been closely intertwined throughout the school’s history. A major change in governance occurred in 1970 when the faculty voted to create a more flexible program structure by eliminating its departmental structure. Ever since, the School has operated as a committee of the whole, facilitating many minor as well as major programmatic reorganizations.
When the departmental structure ended in 1970, the faculty agreed to organize around six areas:
- Systems Management
- Fisheries, Forestry and Wildlife
- Resource Ecology
- Resource Policy and Administration
- Environmental Education and Outdoor Recreation
- Landscape Architecture
One of these areas—landscape architecture—has remained a distinct program; it is the only program in SNRE that currently entails professional accreditation. In 1972, in response to increased environmental awareness and concern, the School hired three new faculty and added environmental advocacy and environmental communication to the Environmental Education and Outdoor Recreation program; it was subsequently renamed Environment and Behavior.
The 1970s also saw greatly increased economic woes on national and state levels, leading to campus-wide concerns of tightening budgets and prioritization, and school-level efforts toward self-assessments and redirection. The official University verdict, in March 1982, slated SNR as one of three schools targeted for major cutbacks or elimination.
In response, the School reorganized in 1983–84. The reorganization reflected the increasingly complex nature of environmental and natural resource problems. It emphasized an interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving, management, and planning. It also emphasized the development of quantitative and analytical skills. A new master’s program was introduced offering three tracks, with the expectation that the majority of students would pursue the Management, Planning, and Policy option, which emphasized professional education. The other two tracks—Resource Ecology, and Resource Institutions and Human Behavior—focused more heavily on research training. A sequence of required core courses was introduced to assure training in methods, approaches, principles, and evaluation of integrative problem-solving for all master’s students, regardless of track. The new governance structure had three major areas: Resource Ecology and Management, Resource Policy and Behavior, and Landscape Architecture.
A strategic planning exercise in 2005 led to another reorganization that expanded the number of fields of study. As a result of the exercise, they included:
- Aquatic Sciences
- Terrestrial Ecosystems
- Conservation Biology
- Environmental Informatics: GIS and Modeling
- Environmental Policy and Planning
- Behavior, Education, and Communication
- Environmental Justice
- Sustainable Systems
- Landscape Architecture
In 2011, the first three of these merged into Conservation Ecology. Although core courses had been abandoned after the earlier effort, the 2005 strategic planning exercise resulted in a set of three core courses required for all M.S. students: Ecology: Science of Context and Interaction, Environmental Decision-Making and Governance, and Integrative Problem-Solving.
Modifications in organizational patterns and curriculum play an important role in how potential students see the school. However, regardless of how SNRE has been organized over the years, there always has been far greater flexibility than might be implied by the formal distinctions among programs. It is not unusual for students to complete requirements in more than one area. Moreover, SNRE has had a great variety of cooperative and joint degree programs for many years. This includes the following formal dual-degree options:
- The Law School (M.S./J.D.)
- The Ross School of Business: Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise (M.S./M.B.A.)
- The College of Engineering: Engineering Sustainable Systems (M.S./M.S.E.)
- The Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning (M.S./M.U.P.)
In 2015, close to one-third of SNRE master’s students elect to pursue formal or self-initiated dual degrees with other campus units.
New directions in the mid-1980s
The threat of elimination or downsizing marked a major turning point in the school’s history. It led to a complete revision of the curriculum in the undergraduate (1984), master’s (1985), and doctoral (1986) programs. A $210,000 grant for institutional development from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation helped in the implementation of new organizational structures and programmatic changes. New offices were established for fundraising and alumni affairs, as well as for research planning and development.
Some changes initiated at this time have persisted through subsequent decades. For example, the revised Ph.D. program called for a single course that would be required for all doctoral students. Research Paradigms, with evolving foci, was taught annually by the same two faculty members from its inception in 1987 to 2012.
The reorganized master’s program in the 1980s introduced alternative modes for a capstone experience in addition to the master’s thesis. One of these, the master’s project, deserves more extensive discussion, since it has played a vital role in the school’s graduate education in the subsequent decades. In the nearly 30 years since its inception, more than 280 master’s projects have been completed by groups ranging in size from three to seven students. In fact, for most master’s students, the group master’s project has defined their academic experience in SNRE. The projects also have served as important stepping stones for future employment. Master’s projects have often been featured in the school’s magazine, Stewards.
The master’s project is an interdisciplinary, group-based problem-solving experience. The problems come from clients who range from NGOs to global conglomerates. The project both simulates a future work environment and provides the client with solutions to complex environmental issues. Many more clients vie for students than can be accommodated. Most of the work on projects is carried out after the first year of the two-year master’s program. However, the work begins during the first year (or second year of the 3-year M.L.A. program) with a course that focuses on project selection, communication and decision-making skills, grant writing, and other tools needed for effective project management.
For example, these were among the projects presented during a two-day symposium in April 2010:
- Climate-Ready Great Lakes Cities (Clients: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association and Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative)
- Defining Next-Generation Supply Chain Sustainability (Client: Schneider Electric)
- Enhancing Resiliency in Baltimore’s Urban Forest (Client: City of Baltimore)
- Evaluation of Different Approaches for Controlling Phosphorus Pollution in the Maumee River Watershed (Client: Great Lakes Commission)
- Sustainable Habitat – Renewables and Energy Efficiency Improvements (Client: Habitat for Humanity Michigan)
- The Business Case for Sustainable Agriculture in Asia (Client: Kellogg Company)
Environmental advocacy became a part of the school’s programmatic structure in the early 1970s. SNRE’s contributions to environmental advocacy have been highly visible both locally and through the accomplishments of alumni worldwide. The Conference on Race and the Incidence of Environmental Hazards, held at the University of Michigan in 1990, sparked high-level government meetings. These meetings contributed to President Bill Clinton signing the Executive Order “Federal Action to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations” and a special task force by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). By the mid-1990s, the EPA had created a National Environmental Justice Advisory Council and an Office of Environmental Justice. The American Bar Association reports that every U.S. state now has a policy addressing environmental justice.
In 1992, Environmental Justice was added as a subfield, and in 2005 it became one of the school’s fields of study. Building on its reputation as the first major university program in environmental justice, as well as a tradition of commitment to diversity and the analysis of environmental inequities, the Environmental Justice Certificate Program was approved by Rackham in 2010.
Environmental Policy and Planning
Research and teaching on public policy and human behavior have been longstanding components of the School, but they expanded significantly after the start of the modern environmental movement in the early 1970s. Work expanded on water resource policy and institutions, energy and climate policy and economics, and policies that affect the protection of biological diversity. The School also became known for its research and teaching on conflict resolution and collaborative problem-solving. In this regard, the school began providing alternatives to traditional decision-making processes that are more sensitive to landscape-scale problems and solutions.
Path-breaking work on environmental education and communications in the 1970s and 1980s evolved into a broader focus on stewardship behavior. The new focus included the psychological and institutional bases for more sustainable patterns of consumption. Development of a reasonable-person model as an alternative to traditional economic models of human motivation, and localization as an alternative paradigm to globalization, were attempts to define descriptive and normative models of human and institutional behavior with the potential to contribute solutions to environmental problems.
Since the 1960s, the school and university have been involved in remote sensing technologies. However, the use of spatial and geographic information changed dramatically with microcomputers and satellite imaging technology. The university was slow to shift from total dependence on its mainframe computer to more local computer availability. However, in 1985, a public microcomputer facility was opened in the basement of the Dana Building. In 1986, the use of geographic information systems (GIS) was initiated. And, in 1993, SNRE established its GIS laboratory for research and instruction in partnership with the university’s Information Technology division. The Certificate of Graduate Studies in Spatial Analysis was approved in 2000.
With the increasing reliance on computer-based methods to assess, plan, and manage environmental issues, remote sensing and GIS have continually expanded and incorporated a variety of statistical and computational methods, including dynamic-simulation modeling. In 2005, the umbrella term Environmental Informatics was adopted as one of the school’s fields of study. The new field reflects the need for professionals trained in technical and applied aspects of these approaches.
In 1991, the EPA selected the University as the site for its National Pollution Prevention Center for Higher Education (NPPC). The NPPC’s purpose was to pursue research and educate on pollution prevention. Subsequently, in 1997, the NPPC began transitioning into a new organization: the Center for Sustainable Systems (CSS). In conjunction with this transition, CSS received a $1.8 million endowment from the Peter M. Wege Foundation, as well as additional support from Ford Motor Company and 3M. The transition was completed in 1999. In its new form, CSS focuses on systems analysis, and sustainability research and education.
Sustainable Systems became part of the School’s academic program in 2005. Since that time it has grown substantially both in terms of student enrollment and number of faculty. The interdisciplinary curriculum focuses on both technology and enterprise in addressing sustainability issues from a systems perspective.
From its beginning, SNRE’s various initiatives to support sustainable systems have had strong cross-campus ties. For example:
In 1999, SNRE introduced the Certificate in Industrial Ecology, which includes required courses in the schools of Public Health, Public Policy, and Business, in addition to SNRE and the College of Engineering (COE).
In 2007, SNRE and COE launched a dual degree program leading to a Master of Science (M.S.) degree from SNRE and a Master of Science in Engineering (M.S.E.) from the College of Engineering.
The program’s most notable collaborations are with the Ross School of Business and COE.
Erb Institute for Global Enterprise
The Erb Institute’s focus is on creating a socially and environmentally sustainable society through the power of business. Administered jointly by SNRE and the Ross School of Business, the institute’s research and outreach programs have focused on scientific literacy, ethical responsibility, and technological savvy in the context of global issues and efforts to achieve sustainable enterprise.
Graham Sustainability Institute
With a gift from the Graham Family Foundation, the institute (until March 2014 called the Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute) was established in 2006 as a collaborative partnership of nine U-M schools and colleges. SNRE faculty have been heavily involved in the institute’s efforts and many SNRE students have been funded through the institute.
Institute for Fisheries Research (IFR)
Established in 1930, IFR conducts research and education related to the ecology and management of aquatic resources, habitats, and the fisheries they sustain. IFR is a collaborative effort between the University and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, with a focus on the Great Lakes and Michigan’s inland lakes. The institute has provided support for many master’s and doctoral students, and several of its research scientists hold appointments in SNRE.
International Forestry Resources and Institutions (IFRI) research network
Originally founded by Nobel laureate Elinor Ostrom at Indiana University, IFRI moved to SNRE in 2006 to continue IFRI’s collaborative research efforts in 12 countries. IFRI’s focus is on forest governance and livelihoods, with an emphasis on data collection and analysis across multiple international settings at the local level, using both social and ecological data collected at several points in time.
Michigan Sea Grant
A part of NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program, Michigan Sea Grant has been on campus since 1968. Leadership of this cooperative program has come from SNRE faculty since 2003, and the program includes staff with appointments in SNRE. The program’s director reports to the dean of SNRE and to U-M’s vice president for research. Many graduate students are funded through Michigan Sea Grant, and some have been involved in its outreach and educational programs. The Knauss, Coastal Zone, and Great Lakes Commission fellowships have also started many SNRE students on their career paths after graduation.
Multicultural Environmental Leadership Development Initiative (MELDI)
Founded in 2003, MELDI’s mission is to increase diversity in environmental organizations and promote diversity in environmental leadership through research and career opportunities for students. It also offers a variety of environmental justice directories and databases related to workforce dynamics.
The Dana Building
The school’s home, originally known as the West Medical Building, was built in 1903. After extensive remodeling, in 1961 it became the Natural Resources Building, providing for space under one roof for all SNR departments. At the time of that remodeling, Landscape Architecture was not yet affiliated with the school and the top floor was allocated to Biological Sciences and Engineering Humanities. The doctoral program in Urban and Regional Planning (URP) was housed in the building from its inception in the late 1960s; it moved into the southeast corner of the third floor as rooms were vacated. In 1973, the year of his 90th birthday, the regents honored the school’s first dean by naming SNR’s home the Samuel T. Dana Building.
The relocations of units occupying the third floor led to a $5 million renovation in 1994, making it possible to fully accommodate the Landscape Architecture program within the Dana Building. The renovations also included the laboratories on the ground floor.
More major renovations ensued, and from 1998 to 2003, the building became a construction site necessitating intervals of relocations of offices and classes. This $25-million “Greening of Dana” project, as it was called, involved adding about 20 percent more usable space through infill and raising the roofline to add an additional floor. The original building, shaped as a square doughnut, had a courtyard in the middle. During the renovation, the courtyard was enclosed and integrated into the building. On the first floor, the new space became a central atrium, named the Ford Commons in recognition of funding from the Ford Motor Company. The area is a central social hub for the school, providing a setting for a multitude of informal and formal gatherings. The new central space on the fourth floor includes the Dow Commons, recognizing a gift from the Dow Chemical Company, as well as two small meeting rooms. On the second and third floors the new space has added computer facilities for general use and for the Environmental Spatial Analysis Laboratory, respectively.
The “greening of Dana” also demonstrated state-of-the-art, environmentally conscious design and material use, making the building the greenest academic building in Michigan at that time. In 2004, the Dana renovations earned a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold rating from the U.S. Green Building Council, becoming one of the first academic renovations in the country to receive such a high rating. Contributing to the LEED Gold rating were water conservation initiatives, including low-flow plumbing fixtures, composting toilets, and waterless urinals; and energy reduction achieved through insulation, installation of high-efficiency lighting, and a ceiling-mounted radiant cooling system. The renovation also entailed the widespread use of renewable materials (e.g., floors made of cork, bamboo, or all-natural linoleum; wool carpeting; countertops made from wheat straw, sunflower seed hulls, and waste newspaper; acoustical tiles made from fast-growing tree species). Recycled materials included glass tiles in the bathrooms and soft rubber made from recycled tires in stairwells. In addition, great effort was made to reuse materials in the original building, including the 100-year old yellow pine attic timbers, bricks and pavers, and doors. In all, more than 3,000 pounds of material were diverted from the landfill. Both active and passive solar systems were added to the building through the use of photovoltaic panels affixed to the roof and the 4,000-square-foot skylight that provides daylight in the Ford Commons and keeps the building cool during the summer months. The result of this major renovation was a building where environmental principles are not only taught, but also upheld and put into practice.
Four decades of change and progress
Urgent environmental and social problems are no less urgent now than they were at the time of the first Earth Day. In fact, they seem more compelling and demanding than ever. The need for SNRE’s work is visible in many places, such as:
- The national and global rise in the demand for water, food, land, and energy
- Unsustainable patterns of consumption and resource use
- Decision-making processes that continually fall short of tenable solutions
A changing climate, with global warming, animates the school’s teaching, research, and outreach to society. In their research and teaching, the school’s environmental experts address critical areas of study and action. These cover wide ranges:
- From basic terrestrial and aquatic ecology to landscape design and ecosystem management in settings from wilderness to urban;
- From consumer behavior to international policy;
- From assessment of green technology to corporate strategy;
- From environmental economics to environmental justice
Through their research and teaching, these experts have trained hundreds of passionate, innovative, and effective leaders who have, and will continue to have, profound impacts on making this a better world for all of us.