Ford Center and Forest branching out

front page pic
SAWMILL MUSEUM- -is a popular attraction at the Ford Center and Forest in Alberta, open for self-guided tours during regular business hours and guided tours by prior arrangement.

by Nancy Besonen

The Ford Center and Forest (FCF) in Alberta is branching out, in a big way. “We’re repositioning this into a regional outdoor and environmental education center,” said Ken Vrana, Director of the Ford Center and Forest, as well as the Isle Royale Institute. “Our dean has made FCF a priority for program development.” The FCF is a unit of Michigan Technological University. Encompassing over 5,000 acres of woodlands, it includes a conference center, research forest, Alberta Village and the historic Henry Ford Sawmill Museum. The FCF also functions as a classroom, big as the all outdoors. Summer and fall Academic Field Camps take MTU undergraduate students out of the classroom and into the woods at the FCF. They bunk in dormitories and spend their days in the field and wetlands, honing skills needed for degrees in forestry, applied ecology and wildlife ecology. Whether school is out or in, a major focus of the FCF’s mission is bringing people back to the outdoors. Vrana noted 100 years ago, 75 percent of the U.S. population lived in rural areas such as villages and small towns. One hundred years later, 75 percent live in a metropolitan culture. To read more, subscribe to the L’Anse Sentinel online, or buy a print copy at our local retailers.