The interfaith EarthKeepers II Team held a strategy meeting on April 5, 2013 at the Big Bay Point Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast in Big Bay, Michigan to plan the 30 faith community gardens.
EarthKeepers II is an Interfaith Energy Conservation and Community Garden Initiative across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Over the next two years, at least 30 interfaith community gardens will be planted that include vegetables (some fresh produce will be given to food banks) – plus native species plants.
EarthKeepers II has representatives from 10 faith communities involving 250 churches/temples in northern Michigan: Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Jewish, Lutheran, Presbyterian, United Methodist, Bahá’í, Unitarian Universalist and Zen Buddhist.
These gardens will serve as a pollinator central for all plants in the area.
Native species plants are pollinator friendly – and that is important as one-third of America’s pollinators have died in the past 7 years.
The reasons for the pollinator disappearances (bees, butterflies) are varied but most of which are human related especially a new and deadly pesticide/fertilizer powder that is used to coat seeds.
Humans cannot live without pollinators.
A presentation on native species plants and pollinators was given by U.S. Forest Service Midwest Botanist Jan Schultz.
Schultz is the Head Botanist at the USFS Eastern Region (R-9) Office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and we are fortunate she is the EarthKeepers II Technical Advisor for Community Gardens
EarthKeepers II Project Coordinator Kyra Fillmore Ziomkowski explained the community garden plans at churches and temples across the U.P.
Funded by the EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, EarthKeepers II has a major goal of reducing toxins in the Great Lakes including airborne mercury – through energy conservation audits and grants for churches/temples – and educating their congregations on ways to reduce energy consumption at home – while getting financial incentives to do so.
An EarthKeepers II contractor has completed 17 of the 40 energy audits at churches/temples in the U.P. – and all will be completed by this fall, according to Delta Green Ex. Dir. Doug Russell, Executive Director, EarthKeepers II Energy Conservation Consultant.
Grants of up to $500 (in a few cases more) will be offered to these congregations to help make energy conservations repairs at the houses of worship
Those attending the Big Bay meeting included faith leaders and representatives, project organizers and the EarthKeepers II Student Team from Northern Michigan University.
Longtime EarthKeeper Rev. Tesshin Paul Lehmberg of the Lake Superior Zendo, a Zen Buddhist temple located at 2222 Longyear Ave, in Marquette, MI.
Guest speaker the Rev. Stephen Gauger of Calvary Lutheran Church
Rapid River, Michigan – representing the Northern Great Lakes Synod (NGLS) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) – and NGLS Bishop Thomas Skrenes.
Helen Grossman, representing Jewish Temple Beth Sholom in Ishpeming, MI
Rev. Christine Bergquist of the Bark River United Methodist Church (UMC) and the First UMC of Hermansville – and representing the United Methodist Church Marquette District – and Rev Elbert P Dulworth, District Superintendent.
(EarthKeepers II also thanks Grant Lobb, former Mqt. Dist. Supt. (who has taken another position) and a longtime supporter of U.P. EarthKeepers projects – and we remember the late Episcopal "Earth Bishop" – Bishop James "Jim" Kelsey – who was with the EarthKeepers from our humble beginnings in 2005 – and now watches over us from above.)
Rev. Albert Valentine II of the Manistique Presbyterian Church of the Redeemer and the Gould City Community Presbyterian Church – and representing the Presbytery of Mackinac.
Rev. Pete Andersen, a retired ELCA pastor from Marquette.
Rev. Elisabeth Zant of the NGLS ELCA Eden Evangelical Lutheran Church in Munising, MI.
Heidi Gould of
Marquette representing the Marquette Unitarian Universalist Congregation, a liberal religious community for the Marquette community
Check out the EarthKeepers II social sites (see links below) including our videos – that include beautiful pollinator and nature photos in videos by environmentalist Nancy Parker Hill.
And vegetable garden photos by Carol Michel, a garden blogger, garden writer, eccentric gardener in the Indianapolis, IN area.
Indygardener at gmail.com
May Dreams Gardens:
Among those involved in the project but not mentioned above are:
Rev. Jon Magnuson, Executive Director
Nonprofit Cedar Tree Institute
EarthKeepers II Project Director
Nonprofit Cedar Tree Institute projects include Zaagkii Wings and Seeds Project, the Manitou Project and the Zaagkii Wings and Seeds Project
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC)
KBIC Natural Resources Department
KBIC Solar-Powered Green House
Borealis Seed Company
Judy Keast, Suzanne Rabitaille
Big Bay, Michigan
NMU EarthKeepers II Student Team:
10 Faith Communities:
Rev. Charlie West
EarthKeepers II Religious Communications
EarthKeepers II Webmaster
Owner & Creative Director of Middle Ear Media
Videography, Editor, Producer, and Project Volunteer Media Advisor:
Special thanks to the Marquette Community Gardens
EarthKeepers II thanks everyone named and unnamed for their loving help with this project:
An Interfaith Energy Conservation and Community Garden Initiative Across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to Restore Native Plants and Protect the Great Lakes from Toxins like Airborne Mercury in cooperation with the EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, U.S. Forest Service, 10 faith traditions and Native American tribes like the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community
Official EarthKeepers II website
Nonprofit Cedar Tree Institute in Marquette, MI
EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Great Lakes Binational Toxics Strategy (GLBTS)
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Great Lakes National Program Office
77 W. Jackson Blvd.
Elizabeth ‘Liz’ LaPlante, senior manager for the EPA Great Lakes National Programs Office in Chicago, Ill
EarthKeepers II social sites:
Google youtube page for EKII:
EarthKeeper II Energy Conservation Audits finished as of 6-12-13
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
St. Matthais Episcopal Church
St. James Episcopal Church
Sault Ste. Marie, MI
Temple Beth Sholom
Messiah Lutheran Church
St. Mark’s Church
Grace Lutheran Church
Trinity Lutheran Church
Emmanuel Lutheran Church
St. James Lutheran Church
Pickford United Methodist Church (UMC)
Marquette Unitarian Universalist Congregation
Lake Superior Zendo
Aurora Dharma Temple
Thanks to our friends at the Big Bay lighthouse:
Big Bay Point Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast
#3 Lighthouse Road
Big Bay, Michigan