Jul 18

SLC Week in Review: Bridge-Building and Water Teachings

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

By Deidre Caldwell

Today the SLC students had fun with our Stem Collaborator Jennifer Morris.  We went over to the CMN Campus Commons where the students were able to explore different STEM activities.  The Stem activities were:


  • 1. Engineering Connection – The Students were given cards with different kinds of engineers and different kinds of engineered products.  The students then matched the product cards to the corresponding engineers.
  • 2. Arches – The students built a straight bridge and an arched bridge. The students tested each bridge by seeing which bridge held the most erasers.
  • 3. Learning From Failure – The students designed boats out of tinfoil.  Then the students tested their boats by seeing how many pennies the boats could hold.  Raymond’s boat won with holding 89 pennies!
  • 4. Domino Diving Board – The students built a ledge out of dominos to see how big and far the ledge could get.  
  • 5. Measure Your Bubble – Students blew bubbles and then measured and compared the buggles.  Catishe created the largest bubble with a diameter of 12 inches.
  • 6. Boxing Beans – The students created square, rectangle, triangle packages out of paper and competed to see how many beans could be held in each.  
  • 7. Inspired by Nature – The students were given human produced item cards and nature produced item cards.  Then they grouped the cards by their similarities.  
  • 8. Let’s Communicate – The students were grouped into two.  Then they sat down across from each other with boxes in front of them with legos inside.  Each person had the same amount and kind of legos. One person built something and then verbally described what they built to their partner.  Their partner tried to build the other persons structure with the verbal directions. The partner was also not able to ask questions.  


The students had a lot of fun exploring the STEM fair and participated in all of the activities.  Some of the favorites were the Let’s Communicate Station, the Measure Your Bubble station and the Learning From Failure station.  This STEM fair was a perfect example for the cohort to experience what they will be doing for their final projects at the end of the program.  

Thursday, July 11, 2019

By Marissa Vele

Today we started off our day by going to Mawaw-ceseniyah to work on our water canteen gourds with Ben Grignon. For this project, the SLC students are painting or carving their gourds and then cleaning the insides out. The next step is coating them with beeswax and adding a carrying strap. Once all those steps are completed, the canteens should be ready for use! Our afternoon consisted of taking a tour of a wellhouse, water tower, and water reservoir in Shawano with Patrick Bergner, the Water Foreman for the city’s Department of Public Works. On our tour the SLC learned the role of each place and why it is important for the city. Did you know that Shawano uses 1.2 million gallons of water per day? This was an interesting end to another busy week with the SLC and it solidified the fact that water is important for all and we must protect it as best we can. After all, nepew pemateset, water is life!

Permanent link to this article: http://sustainabledevelopmentinstitute.org/2019/07/slc-week-in-review-bridge-building-and-water-teachings/

Jul 17

Planting the Seed: SDI Phenology Team Shares Their Knowledge

The Summer 2019 Phenology Team. From left to right: Kayla Cleveland, Sharissa Grignon, and Luke Perez. Not pictured: Brandon Boyd

By Kayla Cleveland

Upon starting the Phenology Internship, it was really hard to tell a group of people what phenology is and the important role it plays within the Menominee Nation.  The computer research that I had done to mentally prepare myself for Earth Day at the College of Menominee Nation was not enough and the amount of questions I had was very overwhelming at times. 

It wasn’t until the first time that I went out into the forest to experience phenology that I finally understood. 

Phenology is all around us. It doesn’t run on Indian Time– phenology is the time that Mother Nature runs on. Its indicators help to clue us in on the changes that are happening all around us. These changes may start as a bud sprouting from the ground, or a robin laying its eggs. As these changes are tracked over time, one will begin to see the changes, or the effects that our actions are having on the environment and the climate. 

Being out in the woods is an exhilarating feeling, minus the swarms of mosquitoes that we may encounter. We are taught to be aware of our surroundings, because you never know what will be lurking around that shrub. Another thing that we are taught is to step lightly, meaning watch where you step. All the plants that we follow are critical in our research, one wrong step and the plant is done for. 

One of the most important aspects in our research is to determine whether or not our indicator plants are being affected negatively or positively. Because we are halfway through our third year of research, it is still too early to determine how any of these indicator plants are being affected. By the end of the summer we should have further results. 

Throughout the summer, we have had many opportunities to share what we are learning with the younger generations by giving tours on the CMN learning path. This gives each of us an opportunity to help reflect on the knowledge that we have learned. At the same time, it also gives us the opportunity to inform the younger generations of the opportunities they have sitting right in their backyards. 

On a personal level, this internship has sparked my interest in plants. I was always extremely skeptical about plants because I could never keep them alive. So I took it upon myself to plant some flowers. You could not imagine my excitement when I seen little green stems sprouting from the soil. At this point in my plants life, it is at the fruiting stage, and this is by far the longest I have ever kept a plant alive. At some point I plan on transplanting it outside, but I will keep you posted. 

Since learning about phenology I tend to take a little more time walking outside. I take more time to, “stop and smell the roses” as some would say (not literally, I don’t live near any rose bushes.) I take more time enjoying the plants, because they are a life all on their own. This internship has so far, been a great experience! I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for SDI phenology future. 


Permanent link to this article: http://sustainabledevelopmentinstitute.org/2019/07/planting-the-seed-sdi-phenology-team-shares-their-knowledge/

Jul 17

Bonus!: ViFF Vlog 4.1

As a bonus treat, the ViFF crew has an extra posting for this week.


Permanent link to this article: http://sustainabledevelopmentinstitute.org/2019/07/bonus-viff-vlog-4-1/

Jul 16

Back to the Lab: ViFF Season 2, Ep 4

In this shortened week, the interns did some lab work. The team was split up and took on individual projects in CMN’s Mac Lab. Evelynn and Amy compiled a list of 50 identified plants from the 360 locations and their uses. Matthew listened back to the audio of last week’s interview and transcribed what everyone said in 2 days. Jacob spent his time fixing up last year’s VR app and implementing a new user interface (UI). With everyone working on their own projects this week, who was left to do the B/Vlog? Well, on Monday, the ViFF team welcomed back a familiar face. Watch this week’s Vlog to get all the details!


Permanent link to this article: http://sustainabledevelopmentinstitute.org/2019/07/back-to-the-lab-viff-season-2-ep-4/

Jul 15

Where It All Began: SLC trip to Marinette



On July 8th, the SLC students had the opportunity to travel up to the mouth of the bay where the Menominee People originally started in Marinette, Wisconsin for the No Back 40 Mine project. We stopped at seven known locations of garden beds, caches (storage of food for winter), burial mounds, dug up burial mounds, the spirit rock, ceremonial circle dance rings, the Oxbow where the first General Council meeting was held to determine the clans, also other stops. We also went down to the lake where we were greeted by a sturgeon. It was good to see our future generations coming together and remembering our ancestors. As the day was coming to an end and we were heading home, on the side of the road a huge beautiful eagle flew up out of the ditch and flew right next to the bus and looked in at all of us.! Such an amazing sight and feeling to have experienced. ❤️

Permanent link to this article: http://sustainabledevelopmentinstitute.org/2019/07/where-it-all-began-slc-trip-to-marinette/

Jul 10

SLC Update: Dishbags and VR

July 1, 2019

by Tonia Haack

Today in SLC the students were introduced to Native American dish bags, Dolly Potts explained to the student the background of the dish bags, and the students then got to make their own dish bags. Some of the students never even used a sewing machine before and got to experience sewing their own bag with the help of Dolly. From what we’ve seen the students enjoyed the lesson.


by Curtis Wilhelmi

The multimedia sessions this week were split into two days on July 2nd and July 3rd. Every group should now be at a point where they have a theme and a clear direction with their videos, the sessions are now workdays where the students can film and edit their footage and collaborate as well. I brought out the two Oculus Go VR headsets that we own and left them out for students to play around with, they were able to take a break from work and look at the App the ViFF team created last summer which I think a couple students really enjoyed. My hope is that the groups can continue to develop their ideas and produce some good footage and material as the following weeks play out.

Permanent link to this article: http://sustainabledevelopmentinstitute.org/2019/07/slc-update-dishbags-and-vr/

Jul 03

Adam’s Corn(er) Episode 2: Soil Testing

This week, Adam and colleague Brandon head out into the garden to get soil readings.

Permanent link to this article: http://sustainabledevelopmentinstitute.org/2019/07/adams-corner-episode-2-soil-testing/

Jul 02

SLC Week 3: Galactic Escape, Cultural Conversations and Time in the Lab

Teamwork and Galactic Escape!

by Marissa Vele

On Wednesday, June 26th the SLC students had a fun eventful day.  The day started with some awesome ice breaker warm ups outside. The students had fun while building their leadership and teamwork skills.  Then the students met with Jennifer Morris for some interesting activities connecting the STEM areas with culture and language. These activities got them discovering some of their values on sustainability and then the students lightly debated on their findings.  The students also went outside and used their inner naturalist scientist skills to draw their awareness of their surroundings. The students rounded up their day at the library and participated in galactic escape mission. The students worked together and combined their teamwork and knowledge to figure out clues and escape their given mission.

Cultural Conversations at Menīkānaehkem

by Deidre Caldwell

On Thursday, the SLC ventured back out to Menīkānaehkem for the day. We started our morning off in a good way by smudging and doing a talking circle. All SLC students, mentors, and some Menīkānaehkem organizers did an ice breaker activity were we went around the circle one by one and introduced ourselves while doing a dance move. The next person had to do all the dance moves from the person before, plus their own. This was truly a test of our memory and dance abilities. The activity got everyone laughing and we all had a good time together. Many of us interns even learned a few new moves!  Cherie Thunder then led a discussion about water. Those in the circle discussed what they know about water and why they feel it is important. Afterwards, Kristen Welch spoke to us more about sweat and berry lodges and why it is so important for our youth to get involved in things around our community. Menīkānaehkem was another perfect end to our busy week. If you haven’t been out to Menīkānaehkem I encourage you to stop out and experience what they have to offer.

Time in the Lab

By Curtis Wilhelmi

On June 25th the SLC students had their second multimedia session in the mac lab. My goal
during this session was to have the students work in their groups right away and to brainstorm
with each other. I could tell from the first session that some students were not as enthused about
the project as I had anticipated, so I was hoping the socializing aspect of group-work would get
the students more interested. I informed the students that all I was looking for at the end of the
session was an idea for their movie and sent the groups off with cameras. Almost every single
group approached me and pitched an idea for their movie, this was something that surprised and
pleased me as I was expecting to have to step in and help every group find their topic before the
day ended. One group struggled to find a topic but after some discussion about what they might
find interesting and fun they were able to settle on something that every group member was
comfortable with. Every other group had ideas about interviews, locations, and the content that
they wanted in their video, one group even conducted an interview and recorded the audio to use
in their project. Before the session ended I reiterated to every group that the goal for next week
was to think about things they may need for the videos and to bring them and plan and be ready
to film for next week.

Permanent link to this article: http://sustainabledevelopmentinstitute.org/2019/07/slc-week-3-galactic-escape-cultural-conversations-and-time-in-the-lab/

Jul 01

Out in the Field: ViFF Season 2, Vlog 3


This week the interns interviewed some experts. They started off the week talking with Jeff Gringon about what plants were growing on the Zoar site so that they could better identify them in person and in the app. They also interviewed a USDA Forest Service Silviculturist, John Lampereur, about the effects the tornado had on the Nicolet National Forest site. They took 360 degree footage at the Nicolet site and took photos of plants to identify later.

You might notice that this blog is kinda short this week. That’s because Jacob, like Victor Frankenstein in his basement, decided to revive the Vlogs from last year. So, from here on out, these blog posts will be accompanied by a Vlog on SDI’s Youtube channel that will further detail the happening of the ViFF Interns. We hope that you enjoy the revival of ViFF Vlogs!

Permanent link to this article: http://sustainabledevelopmentinstitute.org/2019/07/out-in-the-field-viff-season-2-vlog-3/

Jun 27

SLC Knowledge-Sharing: Week 2


This week in SLC the students had a chance to make smudge sticks with Dolly Potts, she talked about the four sacred smudging herbs (sage, cedar, sweetgrass and tobacco) These medicines are the anchor of the medicine wheel, and we use them for smudging rituals and cleansing.

The Four Sacred Plants

 Nāēqnemāw (tobacco) 

Nãēgnemāw is one of the four sacred plants, representing the eastern direction. Menominee used the form of tobacco known as Kinikinik or red willow. There are many who use store bought tobacco. Nāēqnemăw is used in the offering of prayer to the Creator, acting as a means for communication. It is offered to the fire, so the smoke can lift the prayers to the Creator, or offered to Mother Earth at the foot of a tree or in the water. This is done daily, greeting with prayer and giving thankfulness. The Elders say hold it in your left hand as that is closest to your heart. It is always good to offer Nāēqnemāw when asking for knowledge or advice from Elders or when a pipe is present.

 Kēsaehkāhtek (cedar) 

Kēsaehkāhtek or cedar represents the southern direction. The leaves are cleaned from the stems and separated into small pieces which are used in many ways. Kēsaehkāhtek, acts as a purifier, when burned it gives off a pleasant scent. Elders say, put some in your shoes (Māhkesenan) and goodness will come your way.

 Cēpāyawew Maskīhkiw (Sage) “Spirit Medicine” 

Sage is used in the same way as Kēsaehkāhtek. It is burned as a purifier, it has a strong and distinct scent. Sage was not a native plant species of the woodlands landscape. The word used for sage here is taken from the lessons of Lillian “Wausejeun” Nelson. There are other terms that people have come up with to describe sage.

 Sēwepak (sweet grass) 

Sēwepak is known for its beautiful sweet scent and is enhanced when it rains or is burned. This is also a purifier. It is often braided this signifies the hair of our Mother Earth. The three sections of the braid have a specific meaning; Mind, Body and Spirit. 

When taking from the earth, we should always explain to the plant’s Spirit why we are taking it and offer some Nāēqnemāw. The Omãqnomenēwak Native culture is our lifeline as we all search for direction and meaning in our lives. Knowing and learning our Spiritual culture we discover ourselves. 


The students really enjoyed making smudge sticks, and explained that they will be using them at home.


Permanent link to this article: http://sustainabledevelopmentinstitute.org/2019/06/slc-knowledge-sharing-week-2/

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