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 to study the regional impact of the newly created Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Two Problem-Solving Workshops, one on land use and zoning and one on transportation and law enforcement, had been facilitated. Bob Matteson and his wife had participated in a three-week, Explorer’s Club environmental study trip to the Himalayas and Nepal. And the Institute had hosted its first major environmental conference, which focused on the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.
In his opening remarks for the late March, Apostle Islands conference, Bob Matteson announced that advance copies of the Institute’s new journal, north land, were available for conference participants. Dated Winter-Spring 1973, the copies were the first of what was intended to be a semiannual journal whose publication would correspond with meetings of the Institute’s advisory board.
The design of the sixteen-page, 8×11-inch journal was similar to that of “The Institute Brochure,” and it used the same distinctive blue and green outline of the western region of Lake Superior for its cover. The first issue included texts for the first and second Johnson Lectures, by Sigurd Olson and Charles H. Stoddard respectively; remarks by Northland College professor Charles Twining related to the Institute’s problem-solving workshop on land use and zoning; a reprint of a paper by Northland professor Kent Shifferd titled “Man and Nature in the North County: A Future for Both”; and a preliminary report on the College’s new environmental studies curriculum.
Subsequent issues of the journal continued to feature the texts for Johnson Lectures, as well as reports on projects of the Institute, essays by Northland College faculty members, and notes about developments at the Institute. The fourth, and what would be the final, volume of the journal included a special issue devoted to exploring North Country values. Four essays in this volume explored the question of values from the perspectives of literature, history, public policy, and political access. Each essay was illustrated with original images prepared by Clair Day, a junior art major at the College.
Although the north land journal was discontinued in 1976, the Institute has continued to produce informative and creative publications, including the Sigurd Olson Institute News, Horizons, The Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute Magazine, and, most recently, Intangible.