Fe University presents: Exploring the History and Legacy of Camp Mercer – Mercer Library

October 8, 2019 @ 2:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Friends' Room at Mercer Public Library
2648 W Margaret St

During the depression the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) camps were vibrant though temporary communities.  This voluntary work relief program for young unemployed men helped protect and develop natural resources.  In northern Wisconsin camps such as Camp Mercer restored forest. Today Camp Mercer is a ruin, but its impact on our community remains. Join Jim Bokern to investigate the legacy of Camp Mercer.

Participants will explore historic sources, both written and digital, on the Civilian Conservation Corps and Camp Mercer, as well as engage in field work analyzing historic sites.  Collaboratively they will suggest a stewardship plan that will overview the historic importance of both the CCC and Camp Mercer.  Session 1 will set goals, provide an overview of the CCC and review the focus area of Camp Mercer using current day and historic maps. The field trip will include an easy to moderate hike of approximately one mile of the entire Camp Mercer site with a review of laws and good stewardship practice.  Session 2 and 3 will discuss and analyze readings and images on Camp Mercer and begin a timeline for the site.  In class 2 guest speaker, Cindi Stiles, will discuss the archeology of the CCC camps. The class will participate in a poster board and post-it-note workshop directing future advocacy during the third session. The eastern and western portions of the campsite will be explored.

Requirements: The field trip portion of the class requires an easy to moderate walk of ½ to one mile over some uneven ground and possibly some shrub and trees. Participation in fieldwork is based on each participant’s comfort level and not required. Reading materials will be available digitally or in printed copies.  Students requesting printed materials will be charged a $5 copying fee. A laptop or other digital device is recommended for class, but not required.  Students will be informed of state and federal laws protecting cultural sites and will be required to follow these laws while in the field. There will be some home assignments that will include reading documents, viewing maps and forming questions.

Permission to explore this site has been given by John Broihahn Wisconsin State Archaeologist, Richard Kubicek Historic Preservation Officer for the Wisconsin DNR, and Craig Dalton NHAL Forest specialist.

The fee for the course is $45 with a $5 discount for those registering and paying by September 24th.  Class size is limited. Register early. Download registration forms from Fe University’s website www.feuniversity.org or pick up at the Mercer Library or the UW Extension office in the Hurley courthouse.  Completed forms may be mailed to Fe University, PO Box 63, Hurley, Wi 54534 or dropped off at the Mercer Library or Hurley Courthouse.   Scholarships available; see registration form for additional information. Visit www.feuniversity.org for class details and registration information, or call 715-588-7464 or 414-828-7218.


The instructor Jim Bokern taught history at Oconto High School and later in Marshfield.  At Marshfield he was the head of the AP program and taught AP classes in US History, US Government and Comparative Government. He received a Master’s degree in History at the University of Stevens Point.  His thesis, History and the Primary Canoe Routes of the Six Bands of Chippew from the Lac du Flambeau District expanded his interest in Native American culture. Jim has been past President of Wisconsin Association for Talented and Gifted, past Chairperson of the Wisconsin Advanced Placement Advisory Council, consultant for the College Board’s Advanced Placement Program, and textbook editor and contributor for numerous publishing companies. Bokern also has lead two archeological surveys on the Manitowish Waters Chain of Lakes, co-developed the Digital Time Traveler Program at the North Lakeland Discovery Center, worked as project historian on two grants with the Lac Du Flambeau Historic Preservation Office, documented the historically significant 6 Pause Portage in Iron County.  He is currently president of the Manitowish Waters Historical Society, and continues active historic research in the region.