Community Lecture: Natural History and (un)natural future of plants in Keweenaw and Isle Royale

mar17On Tuesday, March 17, Kareena Schmidt, expert on natural plant communities, will lead a discussion about Keweenaw plants. The event is part of a monthly series of sessions on the Geoheritage and Natural History of the Keweenaw, at the Carnegie Museum in Houghton. The discussions are aimed at the general public, but discuss current research and science.

Ms Schmidt explains her discussion: “Geologically, Isle Royale and the Keweenaw Peninsula reflect each other quite nicely. Bedrock twins one could say. Botanically, too, the spare acidic soils maneuvered by glaciers are the substrate to a host of plants that manage to survive dynamic influences of Lake Superior. Historically humans, in their quest for cash, mined for copper and harvested magnificent old-growth forests; their actions radically altered the vegetative landscape, even more than a beaver or moose could ever dream. Isle Royale and the Keweenaw have recovered quite differently from these ventures for a variety of reasons we will explore.

There is no end to the botanical delights that await discovery and understanding. Many plants here are western disjuncts, primarily having home base in the Pacific Northwest. Many arctic species reach their southern-most limit. Plants readily identified with more southerly climes reach their northern-most limit, putting down roots yet declaring thus far and no farther. Unique too are large and diverse populations of orchids, heathers and lichens all of which have evolved unique and admirable adaptations to abide in the spectacular Keweenaw terrain..”

The Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw, located at Huron & Montezuma in downtown Houghton. Seminars are held in the recently restored Community Room on the ground level of this historic building. Lectures are free, open to the public, and barrier free (wheelchair accessible). For each monthly lecture, the museum will open at 6:30 pm for refreshments; lectures and discussion occur from 7:00 to 8:00 pm. Please contact the Museum for further information, 906-482-7140.