Inside the 1,500-square-foot exhibit hall, visitors will find dioramas, hands-on exhibits and a talking "Living Tree" that tell the story of "Michigan's Forests...Its Past, Present and Future."
The self-guided tour takes the visitor on a journey through time that begins with the Ice Age and ends with a look at how Michigan's healthy forest lands of today are growing more each year than is harvested. Six interpretive areas focus on different aspects of the forest.
Discover the natural origins of the forest and how Michigan's climate, topography and various types of soils created a vast primeval forest that was thought to be "limitless and inexhaustible."
With a push of a button, the Living Tree describes how trees capture energy from the sun and use nutrients in the soil to make the food trees need to grow. Learn how the hardness and thickness of the bark protects the tree from heat, cold, moisture loss and injury.
Listen to how the loggers spent their days cutting huge white pine trees during Michigan's lumbering era. Before cutting began, it was estimated there was enough lumber for 500 years of logging. In less than 60 years, nearly all of northern Michigan was clearcut.
When not used as fuel, trees have been processed into primary products, such as lumber, veneer, timbers, poles, posts and pulp. These products, in turn, are processed into thousands of wood-based products that we use in everyday life.
See how the early foresters and other individuals initiated the recovery of Michigan's forestlands, and how today's forest managers work to ensure the sustainability of a diverse forest that covers more than 53 percent of our state's land mass.
An interactive display allows the visitor to become a forest manager, making various decisions that will shape the future of their virtual forest. Visitors also learn about some of the challenges that confront today's foresters, such as exotic insects, forest fragmentation and ecosystem management.