The Sustainable Development Institute led the 2016 campus Earth Day celebration by hosting a campus wide event on April 21. The event was organized around the national theme, “Trees for the Earth” and drew over 100 attendees. Besides students, faculty, and staff of the College of Menominee Nation, visitors included students from the University of Minnesota, the Menominee Indian School District, US Forest Service employees, Tribal employees, and community members.
The day started out with a campus clean-up where volunteers could assist campus maintenance with raking, cleaning out flowerbeds, pruning, and general outside work. In the afternoon, attendees could learn more about the importance of recycling, healthy eating, seed saving, sustainability, and the Menominee forest by visiting stations around campus. A wildlife biologist displayed animal pelts of the wildlife living in the Menominee forest, there was a booth to identify the non-native threats (invasive species) to the forest, and Menominee Tribal Enterprise (MTE) displayed the history of Menominee logging and current forest practices and products. Smokey the Bear and Woodsy the Owl attended to teach old and young alike the importance of fire safety and respect for the earth.
To join in the celebration, various departments from the College and additional partners participated. The Nursing Department set up a booth where participants wrote and drew Earth Day messages on paper grocery bags from a local store. The bags were then taken back to the store where shoppers could use them. The University of Wisconsin Extension-Menominee Nation/County set up a table to promote the local 4-H Club, and Master Gardeners shared their expertise in local fresh food identification, while the University of Wisconsin-Shawano County displayed paper pot making. The Environmental Protective Agency (EPA) and MARTH, a leading Wisconsin Pellet producer, attended to provide information on environmental safety and alternative energy.
Attendees had the opportunity to participate in a bio-blitz where they could walk the “Learning Path” alongside volunteers from the US Forest Service, Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin (MITW) employees, and Tribal Members to identify and learn about the local trees species and plant communities. Phenology observations were recorded by some of the participants.
Attendees that visited a minimum of 10 booths were eligible to receive a t-shirt or water bottle, and 50 tree seedlings were given away. The day’s event concluded with a cookout hosted by SDI where approximately 70 people attended a tree planting ceremony in memory of Dr. Jerilyn Grignon, a lifetime leader in education and advisor to the Sustainable Development Institute.