Edwin S. George Reserve (Mich.) Records

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Edwin S. George Reserve (Mich.) records

The materials in this Deep Blue collection represent part of a larger record group for the University of MIchigan's Edwin S. George Reserve held at the Bentley Historical Library. For a more complete index to the records, please see the online finding aid.

Please contact the library's division of Reference and Access Services for more information.

Records of the Edwin S. George Reserve, Livingston County, Michigan, operated by the University of Michigan as a natural area for scientific study. This online collection includes research data from the reserve.

The Edwin S. George Reserve is approximately 1,300 acres of land located in Livingston County and administered by the University of Michigan. The land, originally farms, was purchased in 1927 by Col. Edwin S. George, a Detroit businessman and philanthropist, for use as a game reserve. In 1930, Col. George donated the land to the University of Michigan to "further visual education in the natural sciences and for the purpose of preserving and demonstrating the native fauna and flora to the end that students interested in zoology, ornithology, botany, nature study and nature sketching, landscape studies, parks in a broad natural sense, or ecology, may here find material for observation and satisfy and develop the love for God's out-of-doors -- Nature" (Box 1, Board of Regents, 1930-1974, "Press Proof: The Regents Meeting, November Meeting 1931").

Under the terms of the gift agreement, Col. George and his heirs would be allowed to continue using the house and other buildings on the property and would retain control of 40 acres of the land, while the University agreed to provide a curator and assistants as needed to ensure the protection, care, and upkeep of the Reserve. The land would be made available to students and nature study groups of non-educational organizations, provided they abided by the rules outlined by the University. The original land donation has been augmented over the years, through other land gifts as well as purchases by the University and upon the death of Col. George, his family turned over the house and the reserved 40 acres to the University.

The Board of Regents assigned the Reserve to be administered as a unit of the University Museums, and it eventually became a division of the Museum of Zoology, administered by the director of the Museum under the immediate direction of the resident curator of the Reserve. An advisory committee, composed of representatives from interested departments within the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts and the School of Natural Resources and Environment, was also created to help with the supervision of the Reserve. As of 2013, the Reserve is administered by the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. As stipulated by the gift agreement, the University provided a Curator for the Reserve. Past curators include Paul F. Hickie, Adolph Murie, Lawrence Camburn, Frederick Hamerstrom, Jr., and Irving J. Cantrall.

In 1950, the administration of the Reserve was reorganized and the reserve was overseen by an executive committee. The Chairman of the committee, J. Speed Rogers, was to act as director of the Reserve. Other directors include Theodore H. Hubbell, Nelson J. Hairston, Donald W. Tinkle, and William R. Dawson. During this time, there was also an Associate Director, a position that may have been the equivalent of Curator. This position was held most notably by Francis C. Evans, from 1959-1982, who made several notable contributions to Reserve research. He was succeeded by Ronald A. Nussbaum, who held the position until 2006. The current director, Earl Werner, will retire in December 2013.

In keeping with its mission, the Reserve has been the subject of numerous long and short-term studies on various plant and animal species. Dating back to 1941, when Col. George established a trust fund to be used to provide scholarships, the Edwin S. George Reserve Fellowship has assisted scholars in conducting research at the Reserve. The Evans Old Field, a 7.7 hectare abandoned field located inside the Reserve, has been a particularly prominent area of study and often features in publications. There is an impressive body of work featuring the Reserve, with an estimated 475 published studies including 81 dissertations and 31 Masters theses with some or all research conducted on the Reserve.

Please note:

Copyright held by the Regents of the University of Michigan

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