The Sacred Space

Location: East Lansing, MI 48823, USA


You are standing close to the center of the Sacred Space. The tree just to your north and east is an elm. There are now only seven elms still alive inside West Circle Drive.

In 1955, robins were observed on the university campus showing symptoms of poisoning. Birds would shake and lose coordination, and eventually go into convulsions, leading to death. Your map shows the approximate sites on campus where dead robins were collected by George Wallace and Richard Bernard in 1959 and 1960. Convulsive deaths of robins coincided with the introduction of DDT spraying to control Dutch Elm Disease but at first there was no conclusive evidence linking the two. Subsequent tests on dead birds carried out by Bernard showed elevated levels of DDT in various tissues. He also fed DDT to sparrows, resulting in their exhibiting similar symptoms to the dying robins. Wallace and his students identified over 80 species of birds that showed similar symptoms, but the robins seemed to be most badly affected.

You are now going to walk east and pass just north of Beaumont Tower. Cross West Circle Drive and walk east just south of the large car parks. Make your way to the north side of the Natural Science building.

Order: Stop 5

<-- Previous    Next -->

Return to Tour