Posted by: Kath Usitalo | March 25, 2010

A Little Bird Told Me…

Rosco, the little bird from Roscommon

Since last July wherever I’ve roamed in the Splattered Van I’ve had a little bird looking over my shoulder.

Rosco dangles from the overhead console, a cheery little companion hand sewn by ladies raising money for the Marguerite Gahagan Nature Preserve in Roscommon. I bought him for $3 or $3.50 at the Roscommon River Festival last summer just because the volunteers for the preserve seemed so dedicated and sincere; I didn’t know a thing about the nature area or the woman behind it.

This morning when I caught a glimpse of Rosco in the rearview mirror he inspired me to do some digging on the organization that hatched him.

Marguerite Gahagan was a reporter at The Detroit News in the 1940s and 50s, and covered the highs and lows of society in the bustling city. But she really wanted to be an outdoor writer. When the paper refused her that job she quit and moved to a cabin on 10 acres in Roscommon, where she wrote and edited The North Woods Call, a conservation newspaper she had launched in 1953.

“The newspaper for people who love the North” is still being published, now in Charlevoix, more than a half century after Marguerite earned her reputation as a “pioneer conservation writer.”

Her property, plus an adjacent 50 acres, is now preserved as a place for learning about and enjoying nature. Marguerite’s cabin is open to the public on summer weekends; I’ll be sure to pay a visit and try to see what she saw through her picture window.

Take a break from your busyness and read Maguerite’s Pine Whispers column from March 18, 1964. If you need an excuse for the mini escape just say a little bird told you to do it.



  1. I am the educator at MGNP. Happy and surprised to read your blog. tom

    • Great. Please check back on the blog from time to time. Looking forward to visiting the preserve.

  2. Our thanks to you and your little red bird for getting that information out to the public.

    • My pleasure. Congratulations and thanks on keeping The North Woods Call on the scene.

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