SOEI News

northern Wisconsin fall trees

From the Archives: A Voice for Wilderness

Sigurd Olson was born on April 4, 1899. One hundred years later, in 1999, the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute celebrated the anniversary of Olson’s birth with two initiatives that recognized his lifelong devotion to wilderness. The first initiative was the preparation and publication of a fifteen-page pamphlet titled A Voice for Wilderness: Northland College Salutes…

From the Archives: Sustaining the Brule River Ecosystem

On June 21-22, 1994, the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute hosted the Robert E. Matteson Brule River Workshop: Sustaining the Brule River Ecosystem, Past, Present, and Future. This event marked the revival of an Institute activity known as “problem-solving workshops.” Institute records show that the revival of these workshops was initiated by Jane Matteson in a…

A shelf of Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award winners

From the Archives: An Award for Nature Writers

In October of 1990, Mark Peterson and Jeff Rennicke prepared a working paper titled “The 1991 Sigurd F. Olson Writing Award.” At the time, Peterson was serving as director of the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute and Rennicke was serving on its advisory board. Their working paper outlined a proposal to establish a writing award that…

From the Archives: An Alliance for Wolves

In 1932, Sigurd Olson completed a master’s thesis titled The Life History of the Timber Wolf and the Coyote: A Study in Predatory Animal Control. In the opening paragraphs of the thesis, Olson writes that “practically no scientific research or investigation has been made into the actual status of [predators] in regard to the herbivores…

Kids at Stockton

From the Archives: School on an Island

“I feel happy being here. I like this island soooooo much!” “I felt peaceful. It’s not loud here. I felt like I am a part of nature.” “My heart feels right at home.” “Since my grandma died things have been different. At the sandstone rocks I felt her there. She loved nature.” “Out here you…

From the Archives: Publishing A Wonderful Country

“To anyone familiar with the Quetico-Superior and the long struggle for its preservation as wilderness, Bill Magie needs no introduction.” So wrote Dave Olesen in a memo to Tom Klein, director of the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute, on June 2, 1980. Olesen goes on to write in his letter that through Magie’s experience as a…

Photo of the Solitary Shores album jacket

From the Archives: A Musical Tribute to Sigurd Olson

The back cover of the Fall 1983 issue of the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute’s newsletter Horizons features a black-and-white image of a record album titled Solitary Shores by Douglas Wood. Accompanying text states that the album was produced by the Institute and “is about the calling of loons, the crashing of storm waves, the scent…

Photo of memorial service booklet cover

From the Archives: The Passing of Sigurd Olson

In May of 1981, Sigurd and Elizabeth Olson traveled to Northland College to participate in the dedication ceremony for the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute’s new building. The building was overflowing with guests that afternoon, and Sigurd and Elizabeth watched with appreciation as the Institute’s Voyageurs singing group raised Olson’s B.N. Morris canoe to the Institute’s…

An architectural rendering of the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute building

From the Archives: A Home for the Institute

Plans for the Institute’s current home take shape.

In the spring of 1981, The Daily Press of Ashland, Wisconsin, the Evening Telegram of Superior, Wisconsin, the St. Paul Pioneer Press, and The Milwaukee Journal all ran feature articles announcing the completion and dedication of a new building for the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute. Described in The Evening Telegram as “one of the northernmost…

Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute at Northland College

From the Archives: Open Horizons—A Campaign for the Institute

As we noted in the eighth installment of “From the Archives,” the title of Sigurd Olson’s fifth book, Open Horizons, inspired the title for the Institute’s long-running newsletter Horizons. His book was also an inspiration for the Institute’s first capital campaign, “Open Horizons”. As the organizers of the campaign explain in a little pamphlet titled…