Marquette, Mich.--The Dr. John English family has donated 142 acres of land in Chocolay Township to the Northern Michigan University Foundation. He spent four decades as an internal medicine practitioner at Marquette General Hospital before retiring in 2003. The family’s acreage lies south of M-28, east of Kawbawgam Road (Co. Rd. BI) and adjacent to state forest land.
“Rather than divide it up piecemeal and sell parts here and there, we felt it should be kept for important future use,” English said. “This land creates opportunities for the university in terms of environmental research and other potential projects. Its undeveloped landscape has scattered forest of pines, poplar and birch. A portion of it is primarily sand. Lakes Kawbawgam and Lavasseur are close by and there’s a long stretch of public beach on Lake Superior about two blocks away. We think this will be a useful gift that honors the good life my family and I have enjoyed in Marquette.”
English formerly served on Northern’s pre-medical program advisory committee and helped to connect students with Marquette General Hospital staff. His late first wife, Jeanne, earned a bachelor’s degree in education from NMU. The couple raised five children and English said all attended Northern.
John Rebers, head of the NMU biology department, said, “We definitely appreciate the family’s generous donation. It will be valuable to have a study site near campus where students can carry out different types of measurements and manipulations that might not be feasible on public land. This will help with their pursuit of different types of ecological information.”
Colleague Susy Ziegler, who heads the earth, environmental and geographical sciences department, agreed: “Having access to that property will make it possible to conduct long-term monitoring of landscape change. We offer a class titled human impact upon the environment, which is our capstone and involves students doing their own research projects. Some students could potentially study the land for that purpose. The property might also serve as a field trip destination for a fall biogeography class that I teach.”
English said he hopes that several additional projects will be considered in the future for the English family land gift.