SOEI News

The Bad River makes one last turn through the Kakagon-Bad River Sloughs on its way to Lake Superior

From the Archives: The Chequamegon Bay Area Partnership

Chequamegon Bay and the wetlands and waterways associated with it are one of the most ecologically significant areas in the Lake Superior Basin. The Bay and its surrounding watersheds contain approximately one quarter of the coastal wetlands and one fifth of the nearshore waters associated with the United States’ Lake Superior coast, and many of…

From the Archives: The Sigurd Olson Legacy Project

In the fall of 1937, Sigurd Olson converted a one-car garage located in front of his Ely, Minnesota, home into a simple writing studio that he called “the shack.” Olson spent many hours writing in the shack, and over the years it accumulated a rich assortment of items significant to Olson—old fishing hats, pipes, photos,…

From the Archives: Promoting Nature-focused Literature for Children

In a 2003 press release, the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute announced that it was expanding its nature writing award to include a category focused specifically on children’s literature. As noted in the From the Archives installment from October 23, 2022, the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award was created in 1991 to support and encourage…

Apostle Islands

From the Archives: Lake Superior Programs at the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute

It’s just a short walk from the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute through the streets of Ashland, Wisconsin, to the shoreline of Lake Superior’s Chequamegon Bay. Since its founding, the Institute has recognized the unique value and wonder of Lake Superior, and the fall 2002 issue of the Institute’s Horizons newsletter featured a number of its…

Black and white photo of a forest

From the Archives: Restoring Northern Forests

The proceedings booklet for the September 2000 Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute workshop titled “Northern Forest Restoration: Shaping a Vision” opens with a lengthy excerpt from Michael Van Stappen’s essay “In Praise of Yellow Birches.” Early in the excerpt, Van Stappen notes that before the Great Cutover, “giant yellow birches over a hundred feet tall and…

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…