Henry Chandler Cowles and the ecological theory of succession

24 Nov

When I lead stewardship work at Rainbow Beach Dunes, I speak often but briefly about Henry Chandler Cowles and his important contribution to understanding the dune ecosystems of southern Lake Michigan. Victor Cassidy (who I had the pleasure of meeting at the centennial celebration of the International Phytogeograpic Excursion earlier this year) wrote a terrific and highly recommended book about him: Henry Chandler Cowles: Pioneer Ecologist. You should read this.

But in the mean time, have a look at his 2007 article from Chicago Wilderness Magazine.

Henry Chandler Cowles:
Ecologist, Teacher, Conservationist

By Victor M. Cassidy

Through his life and work, he prefigured today’s conservation movement–and Chicago Wilderness.

Photos courtesy of the University of Chicago Library, Special Collections Research Center, University Department of Botany Records

On April 25, 1896, Henry Chandler Cowles visited the Indiana Dunes for the first time. “We climbed up the wonderful piles of sand and saw acres and acres stretching up and down the lake, billowy like a prairie or vast drifts of snow,” the University of Chicago graduate student wrote in his diary. “The sand dune flora is very characteristic and new to me.”



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