In honor of its 40th anniversary, the Hiawatha Music Co-op has donated 40 native trees and shrubs to Northern Michigan University. They will be planted in the Outdoor Learning Areas (OLAs) off Elizabeth Harden Drive between Whitman Hall and New Science. Volunteers are invited to participate at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 13.
The event is a collaboration between the Hiawatha Music Co-op, NMU'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 six years.
“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 40 years of community partnership between the Hiawatha Music Co-op and Northern Michigan University," said Professor Sarah Mittlefehldt, co-chair of NMU’s Sustainability Advisory Council. "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,” said OLA Director and Professor Matthew Van Grinsven.
The 40 trees will include 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.