The Restoring White Lake environmental history project unveiled its traveling display at a recent project at the White Lake Community Library. White Lake Community Library Seeks Information for Environmental History Project.
The White Lake Community Library’s yearlong environmental history project, begun in the fall of 2012, is well underway.
Its coordinators, library director, Shelley Williams, and Tanya Cabala, of Great Lakes Consulting, are upping the call for information from the community, such as historical documents, letters, and photos, to include in the project’s digital resource collection, housed at www.restoringwhitelake.com.
“The website is created and we have begun populating it with materials we received so far from community members, such as photos, historical postcards, news accounts, and oral history videos,” said Williams. “There is room for much more and we encourage local residents to look through their files and keepsakes to see if they would be valuable to include in the resource collection.”
In addition to the website, there is a regular blog that highlights various aspects of White Lake’s environmental history. There are also educational events, such as conservation-themed family activities. Environmental films will be shown at the Howmet Playhouse in the spring.
A permanent traveling display has been created for the project. It was unveiled at the Feb. 19 talk by Dave Dempsey, environmental consultant and author. It will be moved throughout the community monthly to high traffic and accessible sites, including the Montague district library, local banks and businesses, town and city halls.
As part of the project, representatives of the Michigan Oral History Association trained a group of local volunteers to assist in recording stories describing events from White Lake’s environmental history as told by members of the community, visitors, and interested individuals and organizations. “We’ve begun recording oral histories and are looking for more people to interview,” said Cabala. “The memories and viewpoints people have about our environmental history are unique and essential for this project’s success. We want to know it all -- the good and the bad -- the full story of what happened.” Several interviews have been posted on the website, including:
1) Charles “Chuck” Svensson and his sister, Eleanor Carlson, on the family’s experience owning a resort adjacent to Whitehall Leather Company.
2) Bev Hunt, Jane Hanna, and Jim Cousino of the Blueberry Ridge subdivision about their negotiations to get safe drinking water from the Hooker Chemical Company.
3) Dexter King, a former manager of the Whitehall Leather Company, on the positive impact of the company on the community.
4) Former Whitehall Mayor Norm Ullman on the change in community attitude regarding pollution in White Lake
To contribute materials or to be interviewed for the project, contact Cabala at email@example.com or (231) 981-0016. For more information, see the project website at: www.restoringwhitelake.com.