Hiawatha celebrates 40 years with tree planting at NMU


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MARQUETTE — Hiawatha Celebrates 40 years of Festival by planting 40 trees at Northern Michigan University

On April 28th the Hiawatha Music Co-op will team up with NMU to celebrate their 40th year by planting 40 native trees and shrubs in Northern’s Outdoor Learning Areas (OLA). The event is a collaboration between the Hiawatha Music Co-op, Northern Michigan University’s Sustainability Advisory Council, OLA, student leaders associated with Gamma Theta Upsilon and EcoReps, and the Marquette County Conservation District.

This effort was the brainchild of Doug Kitchel, who served on the Hiawatha Board of Directors for the past 6 years. While on the Board, Kitchel and other members began to think about ways to celebrate bringing traditional music to this area for 40 years.

“Northern Michigan University has been kind to the Hiawatha over the years, loaning us their parking lots at Jacobetti Center and the Public Safety and Central Receiving buildings for parking during the Festival. Donating 40 trees to the campus seemed like a great way to say thank-you to NMU for their collaboration and support”, says Kitchel.

Professor Sarah Mittlefehldt, Co-Chair of Northern’s Sustainability Advisory Council says “When Doug asked if we’d be interested in helping with this project, it seemed to me that a tree planting was the perfect way to celebrate forty years of community partnership between the Hiawatha Music Co-Op and Northern Michigan University. It’s a wonderful way to commemorate the past while also demonstrating our commitment to the future.”

The trees and shrubs will be purchased from the Marquette County Conservation District and will be planted in Northern’s Outdoor Learning Areas ”to provide educational opportunities for students to learn about the ecology and Native American heritage of our region” says OLA Director and Professor Dr. Matthew Van Grinsven.. The forty trees will be native trees, such as American sweet crab apple, elderberry, plum, and hazelnut.

Native trees were emphasized because they are better at supporting native insect and native bird species. Project partners also hope to establish a sugar bush for future generations to tap for maple syrup and to enjoy the fruits of this collaborative effort.

If you are interested in volunteering at this tree planting event, please contact Sarah Mittlefehldt at smittlef@nmu.edu or Matt Van Grinsven at ola@nmu.edu come to the Outdoor Learning Areas located on the west side of campus on Elizabeth Hardin Drive at 1pm on April 28th.

The Hiawatha Music Co-op will provide volunteers as well as snacks for workers and even some live traditional music. The Festival dates are July 20-22.

For more information on the 40th Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival go to www.hiawathamusic.org

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