Cadillac-area students impact elk viewing in northeast Michigan

Left to right, Katie Walters from Manton High School, instructor
Frank Tilmann, Chris Vaskin from Pine River High School, and
Olivia Kunkel from Manton High School with the roof they built.
The Wexford-Missaukee Career Technical Center (CTC) recently helped improve residents' and visitors'
elk-viewing experience in northeast Michigan.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) and the Department of Natural Resources have partnered to increase awareness of elk in Michigan and to promote and enhance elk viewing. One way to encourage elk viewing is to build information stations, where visitors can learn facts about elk in the areas where they are routinely found. The first step of this project was to construct the information stations.

Frank Tilmann, building trades instructor at the CTC, thought this would be a great project for his students to work on. “It was something fun and different,” said Tilmann.

Students from several surrounding schools, who attend the building trades class, built the three information stations from scratch. The stations will be used to help show visitors where elk can be found and how to view them responsibly.

Left to right, Wexford-Missaukee Career Technical Center students
Andy Noordhoek from Northern McBain Christian School and
Caleb Stagg (home-school) building an elk information station./
Cadillac-area students will be invited to visit Michigan’s elk range, northeast of Gaylord, to help place the
stations they built. The stations will be installed in July of 2013 in order to be ready for the popular fall viewing season. September and October are the best months to view elk, during the breeding seasons, when elk can be seen feeding in open, grassy areas and males – called bulls – will be bugling.

The presence of elk in Michigan is a true conservation success story. Historical accounts indicate elk were once common in the Lower Peninsula, but the population had disappeared by the late 1800s. Seven elk were released in the Wolverine area in 1918. Those animals were the founders of today’s herd. Today elk management involves many partnerships, including habitat-management projects supported by the DNR and RMEF, and now informational stations provided by the Wexford-Missaukee Career Technical Center.

“RMEF’s Michigan chapters are proud to be a partner with the DNR and the Wexford-Missaukee CTC,” said Michigan’s RMEF Regional Director Doug Doherty. “We can truly make a difference when we can work together like this, and it’s bonus to have students involved on this project.”

For more information on how to view elk in Michigan visit