Thursday, October 20, 2016

Field Trip to the Menominee Forest with the Ashwaubenon High School Conservation Class

Yesterday, I accompanied my Mentor for a field trip with the Ashwaubenon High School class. It was a warm, pleasant day and the forest was in its fall regalia. The leaves were colors of red and gold. We began our morning with a walk on the learning path here at CMN. Dean Fellman, Center for First American Forestlands Director, talked with the class about the forest management and sustainability practices of the Menominee Nation. The class had questions about the age and number of the tree species in the forest. Some of the White Pine are at least one hundred years old.

Our next stop was Keshena Falls, then we moved on to the Wolf River Dells. We were honored to have as our guide Jeff Grignon, a forester with the Menominee Nation. Jeff talked about two aspen clear cuts on the way so the students were able to see the amount of growth and diversity in each plot. At the Dells we hiked a half mile trail to a spot on the rocks overlooking the Wolf River. After lunch, Jeff spoke to the class about the relationship of the trees to the environment around them. He emphasized how each mother tree took care of all the plants surrounding her. Jeff compared the trees to humans and how we each are a part of a community. The students then had time to explore their surroundings and learn from the forest.

The last stop of our trip was to the beautiful Woodland Bowl of the Menominee. At the beginning of the trip staff was given a list of questions the students had. On the list were several questions about a Powwow. Jeff and I spoke about what goes on at a powwow,  the reason for dancing in a circle and how the being outdoors was special to Native people.  I invited the students to join us for the Powwow in August and explained that everyone is welcome to come learn from us and experience the dancing styles and contests. I spoke on the importance of diversity of people to learn from each other. It was a wonderful day out in the woods on a splendid fall day.

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