Stewardship shines through

To the editor:

Rain and chill did not dampen the spirits of the 200 middle and high school students who came from 24 different schools located around Michigan and the Lake Superior watershed to engage in Great Lakes stewardship projects while attending the Lake Superior Youth Symposium at Michigan Tech May 16-19. A total of thirteen stewardship projects were led by local organizations across Houghton County. The 200 students and their 40 teacher and parent chaperones contributed nearly 500 hours to enhance the local environment. We want to thank the host organizations of Barkell Elementary, Calumet Lions Club, Chassell Township Schools, CLK Elementary, EB Holman School, Jeffers High School, Keweenaw Land Trust, Lake Linden-Hubbell High School, Maasto Hiito Trails Club, Keweenaw National Historical Park, Swedetown Trails Club, and Washington Middle School for coordinating stewardship projects and enhancing the stewardship skills of the next generation of Great Lakes stewards. Stewardship projects included: a beach cleanup, buckthorn and knapweed removal, tree planting, trail building, several garden projects, interpretive sign design, and trail construction. It was a valuable experience for all. One leader commented: “Wow! What an amazing group of student volunteers!” And students observed, “I loved working in the rain and mud the labor was really refreshing and fun. It helped us with leadership skills, and gave us more experience with what being on a team is really like.”

We would like to thank the Keweenaw Community Foundation Environmental Endowment Fund that provided a grant to provide transportation for the students to the stewardship project locations, as well as, Earth Force, NOAA, and the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative who provided funding for the Symposium. We thank these young people for leaving a positive impression (“mark”) on our community.