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Grant helps another Earth Day event educate kids

The appearance by best-selling author Richard Louv at the grand opening of the new Bubolz Nature Preserve nature center building was not the only Earth Day Event backed by a Community Foundation grant.

At the Sustainable Development Institute on the campus of the College of the Menominee Nation, more than 300 young people learned nature art techniques and the concept of phenology.

Phenology is the study of observing and recording seasonal plant and animal behavior to identify if the climate is changing over time. People may keep track of the appearance of the first bluebird, oriole or hummingbird each spring, or the first bloom of various wildflowers.

An area on the College of Menoninee Nation campus called the Learning Path gives the public a place to monitor nature.

Plastic forks and other cafeteria waste became art.

“The Learning Path is open to the public and provides a place for citizen-scientists, visiting school groups and community members to observe plants and animals,” Rebecca Edler, sustainability coordinator, said. “The brochure identifies the plants and animals that are being monitored along the Learning Path, allowing individuals to record their observations.”

A high school art teacher used plastic items salvaged from the school lunch program to create an art piece to be put on display.

A $1,203 grant from the Environmental Stewardship Fund within the Community Foundation paid for printing information on phenology and recycling for the April 25 event. It also covered a honorarium for speaker Menomin Hawpetoss, who  taught a workshop on how to make bio-friendly cleaning solutions using vinegar, citrus and other natural ingredients.

Information was available on sustainability, recycling, forest health, seed planting, soil health, phenology, plants and plant communities, and other sustainability topics. Other topics covered included the Back 40 Mine, clean drinking water, growing industrial hemp and the social impacts related to living sustainably. Attendees were able to view a biomass heating unit and learn about alternative energy use. They finished their visit by signing a sustainability pledge.

Menomin Hawpetoss

A local musician performed throughout the event, and artwork made from recycled materials was on display.

Community members and students brought in art pieces. The attendees were able to interact with professionals to learn about different areas of sustainability and the importance of taking care of the earth.

The event was followed by a community feast, and an open mic.

Representatives of UW-Extension, 4-H and volunteers provided a planting demonstration. Each student was taught how to plant a seed in a pot and was instructed on how to care for the plant and allowed to take it home. For some, it was the first seed they ever planted.

The event planted seeds of its own, in hopes of growing a high level of sustainability.

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