Monday, July 29, 2013

Days Gone By - Logging Photos

The majority of what I do for my job revolves around science.  Most of the presentations that I do in classrooms are focused on biology, ecology, and geology.  Once in a while though, a teacher asks if I can do a program on an unrelated topic.  While some of my formal education background is in science, history was always my first love in school. 

I have a BA in History, focusing mainly on American History, so when a teacher asked a couple of  years ago if I knew of anyone that could do a presentation on the Fur Trade era I jumped at the opportunity.  I have offered a program on the Fur Trade on an unofficial basis for the last two years.  It has never been on my list of program offerings, but I have quietly offered it to several teachers.  This year it is finally going to be on my official list of programs offered along with a program on the Michigan's White Pine logging era. 

So what does history have to do with science?  Everything.

When I went back to school to work on my teaching certificate and people asked what I was going into, I would explain that I was getting my certificate to teach History, Social Studies, and Earth Science.  Most people could not see the connection.  So I would have to explain to them how much of history is a function of geography - most civilizations arise in and fight over areas that are rich in natural resources.  That richness in natural resources comes about from the physical geography and the climate of the region- these factors are the result of geologic and atmospheric processes.  The ecology of the region also arises from the physical geography and climate. 

The climate and landscape of Michigan owes everything to tectonic processes and glaciation.  Our abundant natural resources arise from the landscape created by these processes.  People were drawn to the region by those natural resources.  Three nations and many Native American tribes fought over control of those resources.  Our state boundaries were drawn with allocation of those resources in mind.  And the utilization of those resources helped to build a nation.  One of the most important resources was timber.  White pine from Michigan (and Wisconsin and Minnesota) was used as the primary construction material in the United States for much of the 19th century (and into the 20th century).  Timber is still an important product in the Upper Great Lakes.  Over the next few weeks, I want to look at some of the tools that were used to harvest this timber, but before I look at the tools I want to show photos of the landscape and men who harvested the timber.  I will go into explaining some of the photos in more depth later.

Mill workers

Logs awaiting the mill

A mature White Pine forest

Horses being used to skid logs out of the woods

Loading a sled with logs

Logs awaiting a pulp mill

A "nontypical" load of logs

Logs in a mill pond

A more typical load of logs

Two loggers "scaling" logs at the landing

Logs coraled by booms

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