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Northern Michigan in Focus: Nature Megaphone

*This article was originally published July 10, 2019

This story starts when Charles Dawley from the Little Traverse Conservancy saw something very cool on the internet.

It’s a 10-sided object, is the only one in the United States and is found in Cheboygan County.

Corey Adkins has the story in this week’s Northern Michigan in Focus.

“We have a lot to show up here in Northern Michigan, and this is just another way to draw folks in,” said Anne Fleming with the Little Traverse Conservancy.

It’s there, but can you see it?

It’s about 25 yards from the Pigeon River in the Boyd B. Banwell Nature Preserve that lies east of Indian River, but maybe you can hear it better.

“It’s a megaphone that you can enjoy the forest. You can sit in the megaphone and it will amplify the sounds of the forest so you can sit and enjoy nature,” explained Larry Liebler, a construction teacher at Petoskey High School.

It’s believed to be the only one in the United States. The plans came from Estonia, but this was built by some pretty cool students.

“We have about 250 student working hours in the megaphone. The megaphone is built out of treated lumber. It was a great challenge for building trades class because there are a lot of angles and a lot of material that they had to figure out how to exactly put it together. Every board has two or three cuts on it, so it was a real challenge for the students to put this thing together,” explained Larry.

And it works!

“This is natural art that is basically designed to help you connect with the outdoors in a new way. This is a low-tech, this is wood, and it was made by hand,” explained Anne. “There’s a lot of effort right now to get people outdoors and to draw them outdoors and it feels like we need to have the latest and the greatest to do that anymore, because we are really getting more disconnected from the outdoors but we need the outdoor so much.”

The nature megaphone overlooks an old deer plot. It’s set perfectly to take in all the sounds.

“We have the river, we have the meadow and we have some very thick forests around us where we’re standing right now, so this is going to attract a lot of different critters, birds and a lot of different sounds,” said Anne.

But to get to it, be prepared for some walking.

“This is a non-motorized place. A little over a mile is the closest hike in, so be ready for hiking if you come. But the hike is gorgeous,” said Anne.

And you just might be alone to take in nature at its finest.

“So this is like a new way to connect our senses to nature. Close our eyes and maybe meditate a little bit and really hone in and hear what’s happening around us,” explained Anne.

To  learn more, .

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