DNR News: Campfire storytelling, fall wildlife job opportunities, 'monument men'

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News Digest - Week of June 24, 2019

Two women and a man sitting on benches, campfire in the foreground, dusky forest in the background

Sharing stories at a recent state parks centennial campfire storytelling event. Photo courtesy Lansing State Journal.

Here's a look at some of this week's stories from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources:

See other news releases, Showcasing the DNR stories, photos and other resources at Michigan.gov/DNRPressRoom.

PHOTO FOLDER: Larger, higher-res versions of some of the images used below, and others, are available in this folder. 

Get to know Michigan state parks through the eyes of storytellers

Side view of a ponytailed African American woman speaking into a microphone, outdoors, with the sun shining behind her

Telling stories around the campfire is a time-honored tradition. Often, those stories contain playful anecdotes and deeply personal memories.

As part of the Michigan state parks centennial, the DNR is hosting storytelling events where you'll hear seasoned storytellers share their personal park tales. At a recent event in Lansing, Alexis Horton, the DNR's diversity, equity and inclusion officer, engaged the crowd with her memories of introducing a group of students who'd never camped before to the fun and camaraderie of s'mores and time outdoors at Waterloo Recreation Area. Listen to Alexis's story here.

Just this past weekend, the DNR hosted a campfire storytelling event in Interlochen, with three more coming up July 20 at Van Riper State Park (Champion), Aug. 17 at Belle Isle (Detroit) and Sept. 21 at Yankee Springs Recreation Area (Middleville). These events are more than just listening to spoken stories; they're a way for people to connect with treasured experiences.

Learn more about the centennial Campfire Storytelling Project at Michigan.gov/StateParks100. Questions? Contact Maia Turek, 989-225-8573. 

Interested in wildlife? Check out these fall employment opportunities

Deer check station

Fall is a busy season for the DNR Wildlife Division.

The department hires more than 100 seasonal employees to work at various locations throughout the state, including DNR field offices and customer service centers, state game areas and the DNR wildlife disease lab.

These positions involve duties like CWD surveillance, banding geese and ducks, entering database information, posting hunt areas, assisting the public with questions and more. The jobs are perfect for college students, those looking to re-enter the workforce and seniors or retirees interested in getting more involved in the outdoors.

Get more details (including contact information) on these seasonal wildlife job opportunities by visiting Michigan.gov/DNRJobs and scrolling to the Seasonal and Temporary Positions section. 

All fall positions will be posted during July and August at GovernmentJobs.com/Careers/Michigan, where you can search for job titles or filter by the department name.

ICYMI: Monument men, surveying Michigan's land

Early surveying books and records used in Department of Conservation land and forestry efforts

The early work of Michigan's "monument men" was critical to laying out the boundaries of land throughout the state, often in very challenging conditions. In case you missed it, that story – detailing the ways the job has evolved over the years and how surveyors use both old-school and modern tools and techniques – was shared in a recent Showcasing the DNR article:

Meridian Road. Baseline Road. Townline Road. Rangeline Road. Section Street. These road and street names refer all the way back to the early 1800s, when the U.S. Congress established a General Land Office and created the Public Land Survey System.

Early land surveyors systematically divided Michigan into a grid of 1-mile squares, marked with wooden corner posts at half-mile intervals, following a north-south meridian, an east-west baseline, township lines, range lines and section lines.

Read the full story here.


Always wanted to camp but wish you were better prepared? Check out the Outdoor Adventure Center's WOW event June 27, where you can get hands-on camping instruction and tips.


Summer and state parks, that's a perfect pair! The Recreation Passport, just $11 when renewing your Michigan vehicle registration, gives you access to every one of Michigan's 100-plus state parks.


Most every Michigander recognizes the call of the loon. If you would like to help protect one of Michigan's most loved birds, join LoonWatch. It's a great way to give back to Michigan's wildlife.

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