MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – More than a dozen people gathered at McCarty’s Cover on Friday. Their goal was not only to plant dozens of trees, but connect with others in the community.

The event was organized between U.P. Rainbow Pride and the Great Lakes Climate Corps.

Mossy Schumann coordinated the event. They said, “I helped put together the U.P. Ride with Pride event last Summer. When I was there, we had an awesome turnout, an amazing turnout. Especially for the pandemic. There were so many young people there. Like a ton of young people. More than I was expecting. When they were coming up to talk to me they were talking about they didn’t know there were other people their age who were queer in Marquette.”

Schumann worked with the Climate Corps and thought it would be an opportunity to combine two passions.

Mossy Schumann

“I wanted to create a place that I didn’t have when I was younger for kids to get together and do this awesome thing that I got to be a part of this summer. Like plant trees and make friends. I’m just so happy it came together,” said Schumann.

Schumann pitched the idea to Cait Sternberg, Crew Leader for Great Lakes Climate Corps.

Cait Sternberg

“Mossy was on my crew over the Summer. We had talked about wanting to get together the Great Lakes Climate Corps and the organization Mossy is a part of, U.P. Rainbow Pride to sort of bring inclusivity to the world of conservation and some of the projects we have going on. And to give space to the LGBTQ community to participate in things they aren’t always invited to,” said Sternberg.

Dozens of trees were planted between McCarty’s Cove and Picnic rocks on Friday afternoon. Sternberg said the purpose of the event from a conservation standpoint is to prevent erosion from unwanted foot traffic on undesignated trails.

“I want them to take away that they can make a difference and that climate change and these big environmental problems are a huge issue, but when we come together and we include our different organizations, our different sectors of our community, we can change Marquette for the better. We can protect this watershed that we care so deeply about and that change is so reasonable,” said Sternberg.

Making the event a welcoming space was important to both Sternberg and Schumann.

“Anyone is welcome. Originally it was planned for queer youth but the idea is building bridges not walls. Any excuse for people over generational, over sexuality, over gender gap to bridge that divide, make friends and find people they know they can be their truest self with, that is the goal here,” Schumann continued, “If one kid makes one friend today they didn’t have previously, that will count as a win to me.”