"The Newspaper for People Who Love the North"
The North Woods Call was founded in 1953 by Marguerite Gahagan, a novelist and Detroit Mercy College graduate who began her career reporting for The Detroit Times.
She ran the newspaper for 16 years, then sold it in 1969 to Glen Sheppard, who remained at the helm for 42 years until his death in 2011.
Gahagan and Sheppard were both known as hard-driving reporters who were dedicated to the wise stewardship of Michigan's natural resources. They provided in-depth coverage of myriad conservation issues and were at the forefront of some of the biggest environmental battles of their day.
Sheppard, known to friend and foe alike as simply "Shep," was particularly unabashed about his purpose, stating flatly that The Call was "an admittedly biased newspaper, dedicated to the proposition that there is only one side in any issue involving natural resources -- NATURE'S."
Sheppard ran The Call with the able assistance of his wife, Mary Lou, whom he affectionately called "The Boss." Upon Shep's passing, Mary Lou was uncertain whether the newspaper could or should continue.
After several months, however, she agreed to sell the publication to current editor and publisher Mike VanBuren, who is building on the legacy left by the previous publishers.
"We greatly respect The Call's longstanding tradition of unvarnished news coverage and are committed to making sure Michigan doesn't lose this important voice," VanBuren said.
The North Woods Call was published from this Roscommon County cabin from 1959 to 1969. The cabin is now the centerpiece of the Marguerite Gahagan Nature Preserve.
Part of The North Woods Call legacy lives on at the Marguerite Gahagan Nature Preserve, located on the property near Roscommon, Michigan, where Marguerite lived and worked.
She donated her ten acres and cabin home to the cause when she died in 1997. Fifty additional acres have since been added to the preserve, which is open to the public and used for environmental education.
Marguerite loved the property and often wrote about it in her newspaper column. She considered it to be a haven for wild animals that she called her "little people." If a predator was in the area, she would ring a bell to warn the other animals.
A book about Marguerite Gahagan, featuring some of her writings, is currently in the works.
For more information, visit gahagannature.org
Mike VanBuren, editor and publisher of The North Woods Call, is an award-winning journalist and a mediocre bluegrass musician.
Early in his career, he spent nearly a decade as a writer, editor and photographer at several Michigan newspapers, including The Antrim County News, The Leader and the Kalkaskian, The Flint Journal and The Kalamazoo Gazette.
He also worked for nearly 23 years as a writer, communication manager and documentary video producer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan.
Before that, he pumped gas, cleaned office buildings, finished concrete, helped maintain a paper factory and worked as a locomotive fireman for the Penn Central Railroad.
Mike holds a bachelor's degree in English and natural resources conservation, and a master's degree in organizational communication.
He studied at the Sony Center for Applied Video Technology in Hollywood, California, and the International Film and Television Workshops in Rockport, Maine.
As a freelance writer, Mike has contributed articles to a range of general circulation magazines, including Michigan Natural Resources, Michigan History, Michigan Business, Bluegrass Unlimited and Encore.
He also has been a commentator for Michigan Public Radio's Great Lakes Radio Consortium and Living on Earth, a National Public Radio program.
His writing and news photography have been honored by the Michigan Press Association, as well as the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation. His documentary videos have been recognized in a variety of production award competitions.
In addition, Mike is a recipient of the prestigious Ben East Prize for excellence in conservation journalism and twice has been named Michigan Agricultural Communicator of the Year.
He is a former president of the Kalamazoo River Protection Association.