Environment agency Zooms you outdoors

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Capital News Service

LANSING — Tired of getting trapped in countless Zoom meetings? Rather be hiking among Michigan’s natural wonders?

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) can get you out of your home-office and into the outdoors.

Sort of.

The agency has posted images of the state’s natural wonders formatted for use as a Zoom background. 

The idea came out of a brainstorming session after staff began working from home in response to the coronavirus, according to Rachel Coale, a communications representative in the DNR’s Forest Resources Division.

“We knew people were interacting with nature and each other differently, and this is one small way of bridging that gap,” she said.

Each of the nearly 30 images has had more than 100 downloads, Coale said. 

The Straits of Mackinac is the most popular with more than 200. Other favorites: Tahquamenon Falls, Pigeon River Country reflection, Porcupine Mountains waterfall and Tawas Point at night.

“I work in the Forest Resources Division, so I’m partial to the photos of the Pigeon River Country State Forest, although I was surprised about the closeup of the brown trout – the patterns on its scales are so beautiful.”

Among the nature scenes are lavender flowers of wild lupines in the Allegan State Forest, a white-tailed buck, sand dunes at P.H. Hoeft State Park and Tahquamenon Falls and trillium carpeting a forest floor.

Those who like to see the intersection of people and the outdoors may choose a tent camping scene under starry skies at Big Bear Lake State Forest campground, a marshmallow toasting on a stick and a log lodge at Hartwick Pines State Park.

And history fans may opt for shots of a cannon at Fort Wilkins Historic State Park and an 1860s schoolroom or 1930s bungalow at the Michigan Historical Center. 

A closeup of the spotted scales of a brown trout – gold and ed on a blue-gray background. Credit: Department of Natural Resources.
Water thunders over the edge of Tahquamenon Falls, framed by leaves and vegetation. Credit: Department of Natural Resources
he white-gray bark of aspen trunks contrasts with the blazing yellow and orange fall foliage at Pigeon River Country State Forest. Credit: Department of Natural Resources.

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