Several issues of the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute’s north land journal

From the Archives: Into the north land

Inside the First Issue of the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute’s First Journal

By the spring of 1973, the Sigurd Olson Institute of Environmental Studies, still less than a year old, was humming with activity. Three Johnson Lectures had been delivered. A pilot environmental education program had been established with schools in nearby Drummond and Cable, Wisconsin. The largest government grant in the College’s history had been secured…

Author Edward Abbey

Trespassing With Edward Abbey

It was November 17, 1977, exactly two years and a week after the Edmund Fitzgerald sank with twenty-nine crew members on board. In those years, Northland had some funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and Edward Abbey, author of Desert Solitaire, was on campus to speak and to hold a few seminars with…

Mary Van Evera Visual Arts Center

In Gratitude and Recognition

Honoring the Van Evera Foundation’s partnership with Northland College and the woman who made it happen.

After decades of generous support, The DeWitt and Caroline Van Evera Foundation will sunset their operations this year and make a final gift to Northland College, providing scholarship awards to five Northland students. Mary was a lifelong friend of Northland President Malcom McLean, as the two grew up together in Duluth, Minnesota. She served on…

A City of Ashland No Mow May sign on campus

Northland College Participates in No Mow May

Northland College is participating in “No Mow May,” an initiative aimed at fostering a better habitat for bees and other pollinators. Throughout the month of May, the Northland College maintenance crew is leaving some areas of campus—roughly 50 percent—untouched by lawn mowers. Lawns in high-traffic areas and near buildings are still being maintained in advance…

From the Archives: Olson Delivers the First Johnson Lecture

Sam Johnson was an early supporter of environmental studies at Northland College. In 1970, he provided a grant through The Johnson Wax Fund to develop an environmental studies curriculum at the College, and two years later, an additional grant and personal gift from Johnson helped to launch the Sigurd Olson Institute of Environmental Studies with…

Apostle Islands

A Dream Career That Started Here

How Northland Launched a Decades-long Environmental Journalism Career

Tim Carpenter ’74 led the way up the steep portage carrying a canoe on his shoulders. We were on a trip in 1972 through the Boundary Waters with Geology Professor Bruce Goetz for his five-week class Geology of Lake Superior. We had planned to go to Isle Royale but the ice stayed late that year…

Wheeler Bridge

Bridging a Passage

Bridges hold an innate magic. Spanning spaces that would otherwise be difficult if not impossible to pass, bridges give access and invite connection. How many bridges have you begun to cross only to pause at the center to take in your surroundings, to dare to peer over the edge, to consider the possibilities between here…

The first Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute Advisory Board gathers around a table.

From the Archives: Assembling The First Advisory Board

An essential component of Bob Matteson’s vision for the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute was an advisory board. Matteson made clear that the board’s responsibilities were advisory, rather than legal, and, as he explains in his history of the Institute, he was careful to schedule meetings of the board when fall “foliage was peaking” and spring…

Northland College Alumni Dinner 2019

Fall Fest Returns September 21–24, 2022

Reprise of Favorite Traditions, Environmental Conference

After two years without in-person reunions, Fall Festival is returning to campus September 21–24, 2022. “Reconnecting with the campus community is important for our alumni and friends. The past two years have been hard on many traditions that are only shared during big gatherings like Fall Festival,” Director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving Jackie…

Red canoe on a lake

Discovering the Northland Spirit

Sense of Connection, Self, Community

Students from the Spiritual Life Center theme house first guided me through the woods south of campus, along Bay City Creek to the Grandfather Tree. It was the fall of 1996, my first year as the College chaplain, and I had asked them to tell me what made Northland special. They responded, “to tell you,…