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Rather, this page is offered as an invitation to begin exploring this endlessly fascinating subject on your own.
Remember that some of these suggestions are particular to landscapes of Wisconsin or the Upper Midwest, but most have much wider applicability.
One or two land uses may be dominant, or the landscape may be more like a patchwork.
During Fall 2008, members of the History / Geography 932 "Topics in American Environmental History" graduate seminar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison embarked on the rather quixotic project of building an extensive set of web resources offering guidance to anyone interested in learning how to perform original research in environmental history no matter what their level of experience or disciplinary background.
For a trial run at learning how to co-author web content for this project, we used the occasion of a day-long field trip in southern Wisconsin in September 2008 to produce a web page on "how to read a landscape" for anyone wishing to learn this important skill.
Of primary importance are stable elements of the landscape and large physical features.
Trees, fence lines, building structures, and so on all need to be marked, recorded, and given a notation that serves as an abbreviated reminder of their size and orientation.
We've added a few tips at the bottom that apply especially to landscapes in quite different parts of the United States and beyond.