MICHIGAN (WJMN) – On March 30, 1921 the Michigan Department of Natural Resources was established, then known as the Michigan Department of Conservation.

The department was established as part of a state government reorganization and it’s initial efforts focused on restoration of damaged landscapes and the recovery of species and habitats they reside in.

John Pepin, Public Information Officer for MDNR, says the name was changed as the duties of the department expanded over the years.

“It became the department of natural resources in 1968,” said Pepin. “The original formation of the department was a sort of legislative government combining of sort of separate duties that were done elsewhere and sort of combined duties into one auspice which became the Department of Conservation.”

Although they can’t celebrate the centennial with a big in-person celebration, Pepin says people can celebrate by getting outdoors.

“Get outside and enjoy and appreciate all we have here in Michigan to be thankful for and that’s the best way you can celebrate the centennial,” said Pepin.

The DNR has a website dedicated to the centennial and has come up with 100 ways to get outdoors to celebrate. Pepin says the DNR’s director, Dan Eichinger, said the first 100 years were dedicated to recovery and preservation.

“What we’re focused on now going forward will be, we’re calling it resiliency because you know in light of climate change our management style is going to have to change a little bit to adjust to some of those features, changing climates, changing ecosystems for natural resources and we’ll have to make some resilient adjustments in that area going forward,” said Pepin.

Pepin says they also aim to remain relevant to their constituency of outdoor recreation and natural resource users.

DNR campgrounds already have many reservations for the summer. Pepin says they expect another busy year for outdoor recreation and urges people to plan ahead.