Written by: Dolly PottsThe conference was introduced by Rebecca Edler, Sustainability Coordinator who teamed the SLC (Sustainability Leadership Cohort) students with the SDI Interns. After introductions Harlan Pygman, presented a basic overview of statistics. Harlan gave us terms and overviews of presenting data. We use these statistics in the research garden measuring the results of the amendments we use on our corn. After the break we toured the gardens at the SDI and had a tour of the soil lab. This was led by the interns to the project, Adam Schulz and Dolly Potts. Jamie Patton, Senior Outreach Specialist, University of Wisconsin Madison and Dr. Francisco Arriaga provided the afternoon presentation. Soil formation and morphology presented by Jamie and Francisco soil moisture, soil probe and using a penetrometer.
We spent day two at Menīkānaehkem where we would spend the morning of our day. Adam and fellow intern Jasmine Neosh cooked hominy, when done gave a cleaning and preserving presentation. The corn from the hominy making was gifted to Menīkānaehkem. Our tour was with Tony Brown who is the chairman of the Menīkānaehkem board. He showed us the projects the group was doing and the dreams of the members. He gave a welcome and encouraged all of the students to return. We had lunch of the hominy made along with milkweed soup another traditional food.
The second part of day two was spent with Dr. David Overstreet the archaeologist for the Menominee tribe. Dr. Overstreet gave us a tour of the agricultural beds in the forest and the garden at the museum. Solomon Jim was one of the Menominee traditionalist who had and maintained garden beds in the reservation forest. The agricultural beds in the forest were carbon dated to 750 A.D. very ancient. Dr. Overstreet and interns from SDI are excavating the beds. While sifting through they found what may be corn kernels.
Day three was spent at UW-Madison Research Station. There we toured the fruit fields of apples and cherries. At the facility is the United States Potato Gene Bank, Max Martin is the director. He was very surprised to learn there is a road here on the Menominee reservation with his name. He was even more surprised Cat saw a bear with a potato in his mouth running across the road! At the bank is housed the seeds and sprouts of varieties of potatoes. It was very interesting learning the process involved with maintaining a potato gene bank. At the facility is a Master Gardener garden with the most beautiful flowers and plants presented in a breath-taking display. Our tour of this garden was too short! Another fun part of our day was picking cherries from an orchard. The final part was visiting the Door Peninsula Winery for an agricultural processing tour.