EarthKeeper Faith Leaders bless first of 12,000 trees to be planted May 3

EarthKeepers first high definition video:

Earth Day 2009 along Lake Superior in Marquette, MI

Bishops, faith leaders bless, plant 1st of 12,000 trees

(Marquette, Michigan) – Despite a major snowstorm a day earlier, bishops and leaders from northern Michigan’s largest faith communities planted the first of 12,000 trees during an Earth Day ceremony on the shores of Lake Superior.

Standing on a hillside surrounded by huge pine trees two bishops and several other faith leaders blessed a three-foot native species white spruce tree and took turns putting shovels full of dirt into the hole.

With a cold wind blowing and icy waves of Lake Superior crashing in the background, the Earth Day 2009 late afternoon blessing of the trees ceremony was held on Presque Isle – that is surrounded on three sides by the largest freshwater lake on the planet.

The storm dumped up to 20 inches of snow in parts of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, however several weeks of mild weather ensured the ground was not frozen.

Anticipating the cold April weather, organizers earlier decided to plant the rest of the trees on Sunday, May 3 when the weather is more appropriate for planting the 12,000 12-to-16-inch seedlings at numerous locations across northern Michigan including 100 churches and temples.

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Superior Watershed Project Executive Director Carl Lindquist explain how his nonprofit organizations has handled some of the technical aspects of the many EarthKeeper projects since 2004. The EarthKeeper Initiative co-founder, Lindquist said EarthKeeping ideas are spreading to other communities. (Photo by Greg Peterson)

The concept of “EarthKeeping goes beyond the Upper Peninsula” because throughout the Great Lakes states “we’re having a ripple effect” as people and groups “are replicating the work that the EarthKeepers have done here,” said Carl Lindquist, SWP executive director. “They are patterning their events after some of the successful programs we have had here.”

Leaders from northern Michigan’s largest faith communities gathered in the Presque Isle Pavillion to speak to those gathered for the Earth Day 2009 event.

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EarthKeeper Initiative co-founder Rev. Jon Magnuson, the NMU Lutheran Campus Ministry pastor, talks about the effectiveness of faith communities to turn out volunteers for environment projects (Photo by Greg Peterson)

“This is very much a marvelous moment in the life of our work together as faith communities,” said Rev. Jon Magnuson, CTI executive director and EarthKeeper Initiative co-founder.

“This is another step in our interfaith work,” Magnuson said. “We have found an expression of our faith in very, very hands-on work like this the EarthKeeping Tree Project.”

The EarthKeeper team includes ten faith traditions (Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, United Methodist Church, Unitarian Universalist, Baha’i, Jewish, Zen Buddist, Quakers) with over 150 participating churches/temples, the nonprofit Superior Watershed Partnership (SWP), the nonprofit Cedar Tree Institute (CTI), and the NMU EK Student Team.

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Meanwhile, the next day Thurs., April 23, several EarthKeeper faith leaders spoke about the project and protecting the environment to students at Northern Michigan University.

It was the final of numerous “Sacred Planet” events on campus sponsored by the NMU EarthKeeper (NMU EK) Student Team.

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NMU EK leaders Ben Sheelk, speaking above, and Sarah Swanson joined faith leaders for the Earth Day tree blessing, coordinated the Sacred Planet series, and the entire team will help plant the 12,000 trees.

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Singing, drums and guitar music were a big part of the final Sacred Planet lecture series at NMU.

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Those speaking at NMU were Dr. Michael Grossman of Jewish Temple Beth Sholom in Ishpeming; Rev. Tesshin Paul Lehmberg, head priest of the Zen Buddhist temple Lake Superior Zendo; Catholic EarthKeeper Kyra Fillmore, the project faith community communications coordinator; and Dr. Rodney H. Clarken, chair of the Local Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Marquette. (Above photos by Greg Peterson)

The faith leaders spoke to members of the Marquette media inside the Presque isle Pavillion just prior to the tree blessing ceremony.

All humans “are called to be steward’s of God’s creation – and no matter what faith tradition we come from that responsibility lies with us human creatures,” said Roman Catholic Diocese of Marquette Bishop Alexander K. Sample.

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Roman Catholic Diocese of Marquette Bishop Alexander K. Sample speaks to reporters prior to the tree blessing on Earth Day 2009. (Photo by Greg Peterson)

“Those of us endowed with intelligence and with the ability to choose good and avoid evil,” said Bishop Sample, who oversees 94 U.P. parishes and missions with 61,000 members.

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Roman Catholic Diocese of Marquette Bishop Alexander K. Sample, pictured center in front of the tree, holds a blue bible he used during the blessing of the trees on Earth Day 2009. (Photo by Greg Peterson)

Holding an open bible, Bishop Sample said the book of Revelations “speaks of the life-giving power of water and how the tree draws its life from the water.”

Bishop Sample said he grew up in the desert southwest and “didn’t see a lot of water” or the “beauty of the forests and trees.”

Sample said “I truly thought I had entered paradise” when he moved with his family to the Upper Peninsula at the age of 17.

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Northern Great Lakes Synod Lutheran Bishop Thomas A. Skrenes of Marquette speaks to the media, above, on Earth Day 2009 and a short time later leads a blessing outside, below, for the first of 12,000 trees that the interfaith EarthKeepers will plant across northern Michigan on May 3. (Photos by Greg Peterson)

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“This whole movement has focused on how the faith communities can work together to preserve this great gift that we have here in the Upper Peninsula – this great watershed and it’s wonderful combination of lakes and streams – and forests everywhere,” said Northern Great Lakes Synod Lutheran Bishop Thomas A. Skrenes.

“Trees cover the earth and trees are part of healing the earth,” said Skrenes, the head of 94 U.P. Lutheran congregations with 40,000 members.

The Earth Keeper’s ten faith communities have “various ways of doing things and looking at life” but “come together for this important task,” said United Methodist Church (UMC) Marquette District Superintendent Grant R. Lobb.

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United Methodist Church (UMC) Marquette District Superintendent Grant R. Lobb told the media that the EarthKeeper Tree Project will be planting thousands of gifts for the next generation. (Photos by Greg Peterson)

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“We are glad to be part of EarthKeepers,” said Lobb, whose district has 8,372 parishioners and 60 northern Michigan congregations.

“Planting a tree is a gift for the next generation and the generation beyond that,” Lobb said. “We are going to be giving thousands of gifts for the generations to come.”

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Reverend Tesshin Paul Lehmberg, the EarthKeeper Implementation Team co-chair, is pictured above talking about the environment and the Zen Buddhist faith.

The head priest for the Lake Superior Zendo temple in Marquette, Lehmberg is pictured below adding soil to the base of the tree, and blessing the tree with folded hands. (Photos by Greg Peterson)

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The head priest for Lake Superior Zendo, a Marquette Zen Buddhist Temple, said “the trees – in effect – will be planting us.”

“We consider ourselfs very fortunate to be participating with EarthKeepers – if we are going to accomplish anything we (all faiths) need to come together,” said Reverend Tesshin Paul Lehmberg, EarthKeeper Implementation Team co-chair.

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Baha’is believe that “nature is to be respected and protected as a divine trust for which we all answerable,” said Dr. Rodney H. Clarken, chair of the Local Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Marquette.

“How great it is to be in this beautiful community of Marquette in these very beautiful surroundings” and “celebrate together with our friends, colleagues and our co-religionists in our various faiths traditions” while “saving and celebrating of God’s creation,” Clarken said.

There are about 40 Bahá’ís in the Marquette area, 144,000 in the United States and six million around the world., Clarken said.

REMEMBERING LATE EPISCOPAL BISHOP JIM KELSEY, THE ULTIMATE EARTHKEEPER

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Two employees of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan couldn’t help reflect on what the event would have meant to late Bishop James Kelsey, one of the founders of the EarthKeepers and the first signer of the interfaith EarthKeeper Covenant.

“I think he’d try to find a place for a tree in his own yard and he’d want to plant one at the Page Center and at one at the office,” said Jane Cisluycis, Diocesan Operations Coordinator. “He’d be really pleased.”

“Since his mantra was about inclusiveness, the fact that the circle is widening would have been really important to him,” said Cisluycis, referring to the recent addition of another faith tradition to the EarthKeepers “The more people included the better.”

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Pictured above on top left, Jane Cisluycis, Diocesan Operations Coordinator; and Kathy Lenten a member of the diocese Episcopal Ministry Support Team; are pictured sharing a smile while remembering late Bishop Jim Kelsey.\

Bishop Kelsey loved God, his family, his friends, the EarthKeepers, his serene Page Center, people and life.

Bishop Kelsey would be “pleased that the EarthKeepers are getting stronger and continuing and more people are getting involved – it hasn’t stopped,” said Kathy Lenten a member of the diocese Episcopal Ministry Support Team.

Kelsey was killed in a traffic accident about six weeks after he and thousands of Episcopalians participated the April 2007 EarthKeeper Pharmaceutical Clean Sweep.

On Sunday June 3,2007, Kelsey had visited services at diocese churches in the far eastern U.P. when he lost control of his vehicle on the long drive home. He is fondly remembered as the “Earth Bishop.”

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Marquette Unitarian Universalist Congregation (MUUC) celebrant coordinator Nancy Irish said “the image of people of all ages and faiths across the Upper Peninsula planting 12,000 trees in their respective sacred spaces is a most beautiful and fitting one to us – if an image were a sound it would be like a glorious interfaith choir singing to our pretty planet.”

“The connection with and stewardship of the earth is central to Unitarian Universalism,” Irish said.

Imitating the adults who were covering the spruce roots with shovels full of dirt, a 6-year-old boy grabbed the shovel and put in his share of soil into the hole.

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Dakota “Cody” Farwell is the son of Frank and Laura Farwell, who are members of St.Paul’s Episcopal Church in Marquette. The family moved to Marquette from Madison,Wisconsin in 2006.

“Cody loves trees,” said Laura, a former adjunct professor and Fortune 500 business consultant who now volunteers with the Labrador Education and Rescue Network.

Cody said “trees are good – they are plants.”

“I shoveled a scoop of dirt,” the precocious youngster said apparently enjoying the excitement he created in the crowd including smiles on the faces of the faith leaders.

The trees were purchased or donated by the U.P. EarthKeeper team, SWP, Holli Forest Products, the Forestland Group, Plum Creek Timber Company and Meister’s Greenhouses, said Lindquist, EarthKeeper Initiative co-founder.

Some groups and individuals have donated money to help the tree project including Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Western U.P. Chapter 30918 in Ironwood, Michigan.

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In addition to providing oxygen trees are important for other scientific, economic and practical reasons from soil health to being “fun for children to climb,” said Presbyterian Earth Keeper Jill Martin of Ford River Township.

“They have a substantial cooling effect on summer temperatures particularly the deciduous trees,” said Martin, an environmental scientist with Wilcox Professional Services in Escanaba.

“They are also important from a biological integration standpoint – they help sustain the ecological web from the soil organisms to birds that nest in their trees,” Martin said.

“Trees are a big part of the economic commerce of this part of the world,” Martin said. “The upper Midwest is very tightly integrated to the forest as a sustainable resource.”

“Presbyterians view ourselves as servants in gods world and this effort is service to sustaining God’s world, ” said Martin, a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Escanaba.

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Respecting a tree: SWP Executive Director Carl Lindquist digs a hole for the blessing of the spruce tree and after the ceremony makes sure the soil and other conditions are perfect. (Photos by Greg Peterson)

It is not too late to request trees, organizers said.

“We cannot guarantee the number or species of trees but we want all faith communities to participate,” said Catholic EarthKeeper team member Kyra Fillmore, the project’s communications coordinator for faith communities.

“This is about more than putting trees in the ground it’s an expression by the faith communities of love and care for God’s creation.”

Experts say 12,000 mature trees absorb 3 million pounds of carbon dioxide annually and produce enough oxygen to support 24,000 humans.

This is the fifth year that the U.P. EarthKeepers have launched an Earth Day environment project.

From 2005-2007, over 15,000 U.P. residents turned in more than 360 tons of household hazardous waste at a dozen collection sites across the U.P.

Most of the items were recycled and the remainder was properly disposed under federal guidelines including electronic waste (e-waste) like computers, monitors and printers plus cell phones, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, herbicides, oil-based paint and vehicle batteries.

Last year the EarthKeepers provided a household energy conservation checklist that resulted in over 3 million pounds of carbon being reduced.

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The Media: Two Marquette newspapers and two Marquette TV stations covered the blessing of the trees on Earth Day 2009.

The EarthKeepers thank all the national, state and local media who have spread the word about our projects over the past five years, (Photos by Greg Peterson)

Unable to attend the blessing ceremony and living two hours from Marquette, Episcopal EarthKeeper team member Nancy Auer of Houghton, MI said there are good reasons to plant trees “in a region of the country known for trees” including minimizing the effects of logging.

“We harvest those trees,” Auer said. “Every tree has value in that they absorb our carbon emissions and those carbon emissions are increasing therefore we need more trees.”

“God asks us to be stewards the earth and it can be as simple as planting a tree,” Auer said.

David McCowen, a member of Lake Superior Friends one of two Quaker groups in the U.P., said trees provide “wind breaks, wildlife habitat, fuel source, and a cellulose fiber source.”

McCowen said “it is easy to take trees for granted” in the U.P. because “trees are a major part of the surroundings that we love.”

“Faith communities have the privilege and responsibility of unselfishly considering the natural environment as being inherently desirable,” McCowen said.

An annual Jewish holiday celebrates the blossoming of the almond trees in Israel at the start of spring, said Dr. Constance Arnold, president of the board for Temple Beth Sholom.

“Tu B’Shvat is a very ancient holiday we observe yearly,” said Arnold. “This is a reminder of the importance of trees.”

Arnold said Tu B’Shvat marks the “New Year of Trees”and Jewish customs include tree planting and eating dried fruits and nuts during an evening meal.

“We get together on that day and have something to eat from as many of the fruits of the tree as you can come up with,” Arnold said. “We bring apricots, cherries, olives, dates, pomegranates and cinnamon.”

The EarthKeeper Tree Planting Project is “another opportunity to work cooperatively with God and nature to replenish the earth,” said Pastor Dave Anderson of Grace Presbyterian Church in Sagola and chaplain for the Dickinson County Healthcare System.

The EarthKeeper Covenant signer on behalf of all northern Michigan Presbyterians, Rev. Anderson said planting trees is important because “there is so much harvesting going on just for profitability” and planting a tree “can stand in contrast to a materialistic mindset.”

“Trees can be enjoyed for their beauty and charm, without always having to be seen for their market value,” Anderson said. “Let’s plant this year to beautify the Earth and to enjoy God’s creation for the right reasons.”
Andersons’ Southern U.P. church is going green in many ways and the congregation can’t wait to help.

“I am thrilled about this – when my kids were little they planted trees,” said Sue Piasini, a member of Grace Presbyterian in Sagola and the mother of four grown children. “Now the tree they planted are huge – they’re about 20 feet tall.”

Planting the trees is “like coming full circle,” said Piasini, a Presbyterian EarthKeeper team member from Channing, Michigan.

“We’re so lucky and blessed to live in beautiful area” with beautiful forests, said Piasini, who is helping coordinate the tree project for numerous Dickinson County churches of all faiths including in Felch, Kingsford and Iron Mountain “We’re going to plant one tree in our church yard and dedicate it and inspire our people” and the rest of their share of the seedlings will be given to church members and others.

“Our church is going green and we are getting rid of all Styrofoam cups and plates” used during the weekly coffee hour after the service,” Piasini said. “You can’t imagine all the Styrofoam that is thrown away.”

“We are only going to use biodegradable paper products,” said Piasini, adding the church is trying to arrange a free energy audit to with a “goal to be more energy efficient.”

Catholic EarthKeeper team member Linda O’Brien said “from the beginning of time God has called us to be good stewards of the earth.”

“Our Catholic tradition allows us to embrace the EarthKeeper Tree Project as a way to continue our good stewardship of the earth,” O’Brien said.
Congregations can still request trees by calling Catholic EarthKeeper Kyra Fillmore, the project faith community communications coordinator, at 906-228-2388.

For tree planting information contact the SWP at 906-228-6095.

Related Links:

Interfaith EarthKeeper Team

Nonprofit Superior Watershed Partnership

Nonprofit Cedar Tree Institute in Marquette, MI and its environment projects:

Zaagkii Wings & Seeds Project: Native American and Marquette area teens protecting pollinators project:

Zaagkii TV on youtube

Zaagkii Project Story Part 1 Indian Country Today newspaper

Zaagkii Project Story Part 2 Indian Country Today newspaper

Zaagkii Project hailed as success by U.S. Forest Service

Zaagkii Project blog on wordpress

Non-profit Interfaith Earth Healing Initiative: Numerous environment projects across the Great Lakes Basin in cooperation with the EPA, American Indian Tribes and local governments

http://www.EarthHealingInitiative.org

Earth Healing TV on youtube

Earth Healing TV on bliptv

Earth Healing Initiative was part of the first EPA Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge with youtube and bliptv videos.

Cedar Tree Institute: Founder of EarthKeeper Initiative, Earth Healing Initiative, Manoomin Project and Zaagkii Wings & Seeds Project:

http://www.cedartreeinstitute.org

EarthKeeper TV on youtube has EarthKeeper and Manoomin Project including stories and a Manoomin Project music video & more

Manoomin Project story in Indian Country Today

Manoomin Project Story in World Magazine

Turtle Island Project: Respecting the heritage, culture and rights of Native Americans and other Indigenous Peoples and the environment

http://www.TurtleIslandProject.org

Turtle Island TV on blip tv

Turtle Island TV on youtube

Turtle Island Project myspace page

Turtle Island Project blog on wordpress

Turtle Island Project on MSN

Interfaith graphics by Justice St. Rain (Bahá’í Community) of Interfaith Resources – Special Ideas website

Call Justice St. Rain at Interfaith resources:
1-800-326-1197

Justice St Rain:
justice@special-ideas.com

Interfaith Resources
P.O. Box 9
511 Diamond Rd
Heltonville IN
47436

Gather html w/video codes:

Earth Day 2009 & The interfaith Upper Peninsula EarthKeeper Tree Project: Faith leaders bless and plant the first of 12,000 trees across the Upper Peninsula

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The Earth Day 2009 interfaith EarthKeeper Tree Project “Blessing of the Trees” ceremony was held next to the pavillion at Presque Isle, a popular Marquette, Michigan nature area – that is surrounded on three sides by Lake Superior. Faith leaders blessed a three-foot native species white spruce – the first of 12,000 trees to be planted across the Upper Peninsula on May 9 at over 100 churches and temples. (Photo by Greg Peterson)

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On Earth Day 2009 near the shores of Lake Superior, northern Michigan bishops and other faith leaders explain the connection between religion and protecting the environment to Marquette reporters including from two TV stations – WBUP/WBKP TV 5&10 and WLUC TV-6 – and two newspapers – the Mining Journal in Marquette and the U.P. Catholic. (Photo by Greg Peterson)

(Marquette, Michigan) – Despite a major snowstorm a day earlier, bishops and leaders from northern Michigan’s largest faith communities planted the first of 12,000 trees during an Earth Day ceremony on the shores of Lake Superior.

Standing on a hillside surrounded by huge pine trees two bishops and several other faith leaders blessed a three-foot native species white spruce tree and took turns putting shovels full of dirt into the hole.

With a cold wind blowing and icy waves of Lake Superior crashing in the background, the Earth Day 2009 late afternoon blessing of the trees ceremony was held on Presque Isle – that is surrounded on three sides by the largest freshwater lake on the planet.

The storm dumped up to 20 inches of snow in parts of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, however several weeks of mild weather ensured the ground was not frozen.

Anticipating the cold April weather, organizers earlier decided to plant the rest of the trees on Sunday, May 3 when the weather is more appropriate for planting the 12,000 12-to-16-inch seedlings at numerous locations across northern Michigan including 100 churches and temples.

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Superior Watershed Project Executive Director Carl Lindquist explain how his nonprofit organizations has handled some of the technical aspects of the many EarthKeeper projects since 2004. The EarthKeeper Initiative co-founder, Lindquist said EarthKeeping ideas are spreading to other communities. (Photo by Greg Peterson)

The concept of “EarthKeeping goes beyond the Upper Peninsula” because throughout the Great Lakes states “we’re having a ripple effect” as people and groups “are replicating the work that the EarthKeepers have done here,” said Carl Lindquist, SWP executive director. “They are patterning their events after some of the successful programs we have had here.”

Leaders from northern Michigan’s largest faith communities gathered in the Presque Isle Pavillion to speak to those gathered for the Earth Day 2009 event.

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EarthKeeper Initiative co-founder Rev. Jon Magnuson, the NMU Lutheran Campus Ministry pastor, talks about the effectiveness of faith communities to turn out volunteers for environment projects (Photo by Greg Peterson)

“This is very much a marvelous moment in the life of our work together as faith communities,” said Rev. Jon Magnuson, CTI executive director and EarthKeeper Initiative co-founder.

“This is another step in our interfaith work,” Magnuson said. “We have found an expression of our faith in very, very hands-on work like this the EarthKeeping Tree Project.”

The EarthKeeper team includes ten faith traditions (Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, United Methodist Church, Unitarian Universalist, Baha’i, Jewish, Zen Buddist, Quakers) with over 150 participating churches/temples, the nonprofit Superior Watershed Partnership (SWP), the nonprofit Cedar Tree Institute (CTI), and the NMU EK Student Team.

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Meanwhile, the next day Thurs., April 23, several EarthKeeper faith leaders spoke about the project and protecting the environment to students at Northern Michigan University.

It was the final of numerous “Sacred Planet” events on campus sponsored by the NMU EarthKeeper (NMU EK) Student Team.

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NMU EK leaders Ben Sheelk, speaking above, and Sarah Swanson joined faith leaders for the Earth Day tree blessing, coordinated the Sacred Planet series, and the entire team will help plant the 12,000 trees.

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Singing, drums and guitar music were a big part of the final Sacred Planet lecture series at NMU.

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Those speaking at NMU were Dr. Michael Grossman of Jewish Temple Beth Sholom in Ishpeming; Rev. Tesshin Paul Lehmberg, head priest of the Zen Buddhist temple Lake Superior Zendo; Catholic EarthKeeper Kyra Fillmore, the project faith community communications coordinator; and Dr. Rodney H. Clarken, chair of the Local Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Marquette. (Above photos by Greg Peterson)

The faith leaders spoke to members of the Marquette media inside the Presque isle Pavillion just prior to the tree blessing ceremony.

All humans “are called to be steward’s of God’s creation – and no matter what faith tradition we come from that responsibility lies with us human creatures,” said Roman Catholic Diocese of Marquette Bishop Alexander K. Sample.

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Roman Catholic Diocese of Marquette Bishop Alexander K. Sample speaks to reporters prior to the tree blessing on Earth Day 2009. (Photo by Greg Peterson)

“Those of us endowed with intelligence and with the ability to choose good and avoid evil,” said Bishop Sample, who oversees 94 U.P. parishes and missions with 61,000 members.

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Roman Catholic Diocese of Marquette Bishop Alexander K. Sample, pictured center in front of the tree, holds a blue bible he used during the blessing of the trees on Earth Day 2009. (Photo by Greg Peterson)

Holding an open bible, Bishop Sample said the book of Revelations “speaks of the life-giving power of water and how the tree draws its life from the water.”

Bishop Sample said he grew up in the desert southwest and “didn’t see a lot of water” or the “beauty of the forests and trees.”

Sample said “I truly thought I had entered paradise” when he moved with his family to the Upper Peninsula at the age of 17.

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Northern Great Lakes Synod Lutheran Bishop Thomas A. Skrenes of Marquette speaks to the media, above, on Earth Day 2009 and a short time later leads a blessing outside, below, for the first of 12,000 trees that the interfaith EarthKeepers will plant across northern Michigan on May 3. (Photos by Greg Peterson)

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“This whole movement has focused on how the faith communities can work together to preserve this great gift that we have here in the Upper Peninsula – this great watershed and it’s wonderful combination of lakes and streams – and forests everywhere,” said Northern Great Lakes Synod Lutheran Bishop Thomas A. Skrenes.

“Trees cover the earth and trees are part of healing the earth,” said Skrenes, the head of 94 U.P. Lutheran congregations with 40,000 members.

The Earth Keeper’s ten faith communities have “various ways of doing things and looking at life” but “come together for this important task,” said United Methodist Church (UMC) Marquette District Superintendent Grant R. Lobb.

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United Methodist Church (UMC) Marquette District Superintendent Grant R. Lobb told the media that the EarthKeeper Tree Project will be planting thousands of gifts for the next generation. (Photos by Greg Peterson)

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“We are glad to be part of EarthKeepers,” said Lobb, whose district has 8,372 parishioners and 60 northern Michigan congregations.

“Planting a tree is a gift for the next generation and the generation beyond that,” Lobb said. “We are going to be giving thousands of gifts for the generations to come.”

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Reverend Tesshin Paul Lehmberg, the EarthKeeper Implementation Team co-chair, is pictured above talking about the environment and the Zen Buddhist faith.

The head priest for the Lake Superior Zendo temple in Marquette, Lehmberg is pictured below adding soil to the base of the tree, and blessing the tree with folded hands. (Photos by Greg Peterson)

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The head priest for Lake Superior Zendo, a Marquette Zen Buddhist Temple, said “the trees – in effect – will be planting us.”

“We consider ourselfs very fortunate to be participating with EarthKeepers – if we are going to accomplish anything we (all faiths) need to come together,” said Reverend Tesshin Paul Lehmberg, EarthKeeper Implementation Team co-chair.

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Baha’is believe that “nature is to be respected and protected as a divine trust for which we all answerable,” said Dr. Rodney H. Clarken, chair of the Local Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Marquette.

“How great it is to be in this beautiful community of Marquette in these very beautiful surroundings” and “celebrate together with our friends, colleagues and our co-religionists in our various faiths traditions” while “saving and celebrating of God’s creation,” Clarken said.

There are about 40 Bahá’ís in the Marquette area, 144,000 in the United States and six million around the world., Clarken said.

REMEMBERING LATE EPISCOPAL BISHOP JIM KELSEY, THE ULTIMATE EARTHKEEPER

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Two employees of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan couldn’t help reflect on what the event would have meant to late Bishop James Kelsey, one of the founders of the EarthKeepers and the first signer of the interfaith EarthKeeper Covenant.

“I think he’d try to find a place for a tree in his own yard and he’d want to plant one at the Page Center and at one at the office,” said Jane Cisluycis, Diocesan Operations Coordinator. “He’d be really pleased.”

“Since his mantra was about inclusiveness, the fact that the circle is widening would have been really important to him,” said Cisluycis, referring to the recent addition of another faith tradition to the EarthKeepers “The more people included the better.”

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Pictured above on top left, Jane Cisluycis, Diocesan Operations Coordinator; and Kathy Lenten a member of the diocese Episcopal Ministry Support Team; are pictured sharing a smile while remembering late Bishop Jim Kelsey.\

Bishop Kelsey loved God, his family, his friends, the EarthKeepers, his serene Page Center, people and life.

Bishop Kelsey would be “pleased that the EarthKeepers are getting stronger and continuing and more people are getting involved – it hasn’t stopped,” said Kathy Lenten a member of the diocese Episcopal Ministry Support Team.

Kelsey was killed in a traffic accident about six weeks after he and thousands of Episcopalians participated the April 2007 EarthKeeper Pharmaceutical Clean Sweep.

On Sunday June 3,2007, Kelsey had visited services at diocese churches in the far eastern U.P. when he lost control of his vehicle on the long drive home. He is fondly remembered as the “Earth Bishop.”

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Marquette Unitarian Universalist Congregation (MUUC) celebrant coordinator Nancy Irish said “the image of people of all ages and faiths across the Upper Peninsula planting 12,000 trees in their respective sacred spaces is a most beautiful and fitting one to us – if an image were a sound it would be like a glorious interfaith choir singing to our pretty planet.”

“The connection with and stewardship of the earth is central to Unitarian Universalism,” Irish said.

Imitating the adults who were covering the spruce roots with shovels full of dirt, a 6-year-old boy grabbed the shovel and put in his share of soil into the hole.

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Dakota “Cody” Farwell is the son of Frank and Laura Farwell, who are members of St.Paul’s Episcopal Church in Marquette. The family moved to Marquette from Madison,Wisconsin in 2006.

“Cody loves trees,” said Laura, a former adjunct professor and Fortune 500 business consultant who now volunteers with the Labrador Education and Rescue Network.

Cody said “trees are good – they are plants.”

“I shoveled a scoop of dirt,” the precocious youngster said apparently enjoying the excitement he created in the crowd including smiles on the faces of the faith leaders.

The trees were purchased or donated by the U.P. EarthKeeper team, SWP, Holli Forest Products, the Forestland Group, Plum Creek Timber Company and Meister’s Greenhouses, said Lindquist, EarthKeeper Initiative co-founder.

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In addition to providing oxygen trees are important for other scientific, economic and practical reasons from soil health to being “fun for children to climb,” said Presbyterian Earth Keeper Jill Martin of Ford River Township.

“They have a substantial cooling effect on summer temperatures particularly the deciduous trees,” said Martin, an environmental scientist with Wilcox Professional Services in Escanaba.

“They are also important from a biological integration standpoint – they help sustain the ecological web from the soil organisms to birds that nest in their trees,” Martin said.

“Trees are a big part of the economic commerce of this part of the world,” Martin said. “The upper Midwest is very tightly integrated to the forest as a sustainable resource.”

“Presbyterians view ourselves as servants in gods world and this effort is service to sustaining God’s world, ” said Martin, a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Escanaba.

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Respecting a tree: SWP Executive Director Carl Lindquist digs a hole for the blessing of the spruce tree and after the ceremony makes sure the soil and other conditions are perfect. (Photos by Greg Peterson)

It is not too late to request trees, organizers said.

“We cannot guarantee the number or species of trees but we want all faith communities to participate,” said Catholic EarthKeeper team member Kyra Fillmore, the project’s communications coordinator for faith communities.

“This is about more than putting trees in the ground it’s an expression by the faith communities of love and care for God’s creation.”

Experts say 12,000 mature trees absorb 3 million pounds of carbon dioxide annually and produce enough oxygen to support 24,000 humans.

This is the fifth year that the U.P. EarthKeepers have launched an Earth Day environment project.

From 2005-2007, over 15,000 U.P. residents turned in more than 360 tons of household hazardous waste at a dozen collection sites across the U.P.

Most of the items were recycled and the remainder was properly disposed under federal guidelines including electronic waste (e-waste) like computers, monitors and printers plus cell phones, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, herbicides, oil-based paint and vehicle batteries.

Last year the EarthKeepers provided a household energy conservation checklist that resulted in over 3 million pounds of carbon being reduced.

Photobucket

The Media: Two Marquette newspapers and two Marquette TV stations covered the blessing of the trees on Earth Day 2009.

The EarthKeepers thank all the national, state and local media who have spread the word about our projects over the past five years, (Photos by Greg Peterson)

Unable to attend the blessing ceremony and living two hours from Marquette, Episcopal EarthKeeper team member Nancy Auer of Houghton, MI said there are good reasons to plant trees “in a region of the country known for trees” including minimizing the effects of logging.

“We harvest those trees,” Auer said. “Every tree has value in that they absorb our carbon emissions and those carbon emissions are increasing therefore we need more trees.”

“God asks us to be stewards the earth and it can be as simple as planting a tree,” Auer said.

David McCowen, a member of Lake Superior Friends one of two Quaker groups in the U.P., said trees provide “wind breaks, wildlife habitat, fuel source, and a cellulose fiber source.”

McCowen said “it is easy to take trees for granted” in the U.P. because “trees are a major part of the surroundings that we love.”

“Faith communities have the privilege and responsibility of unselfishly considering the natural environment as being inherently desirable,” McCowen said.

An annual Jewish holiday celebrates the blossoming of the almond trees in Israel at the start of spring, said Dr. Constance Arnold, president of the board for Temple Beth Sholom.

“Tu B’Shvat is a very ancient holiday we observe yearly,” said Arnold. “This is a reminder of the importance of trees.”

Arnold said Tu B’Shvat marks the “New Year of Trees”and Jewish customs include tree planting and eating dried fruits and nuts during an evening meal.

“We get together on that day and have something to eat from as many of the fruits of the tree as you can come up with,” Arnold said. “We bring apricots, cherries, olives, dates, pomegranates and cinnamon.”

The EarthKeeper Tree Planting Project is “another opportunity to work cooperatively with God and nature to replenish the earth,” said Pastor Dave Anderson of Grace Presbyterian Church in Sagola and chaplain for the Dickinson County Healthcare System.

The EarthKeeper Covenant signer on behalf of all northern Michigan Presbyterians, Rev. Anderson said planting trees is important because “there is so much harvesting going on just for profitability” and planting a tree “can stand in contrast to a materialistic mindset.”

“Trees can be enjoyed for their beauty and charm, without always having to be seen for their market value,” Anderson said. “Let’s plant this year to beautify the Earth and to enjoy God’s creation for the right reasons.”
Andersons’ Southern U.P. church is going green in many ways and the congregation can’t wait to help.

“I am thrilled about this – when my kids were little they planted trees,” said Sue Piasini, a member of Grace Presbyterian in Sagola and the mother of four grown children. “Now the tree they planted are huge – they’re about 20 feet tall.”

Planting the trees is “like coming full circle,” said Piasini, a Presbyterian EarthKeeper team member from Channing, Michigan.

“We’re so lucky and blessed to live in beautiful area” with beautiful forests, said Piasini, who is helping coordinate the tree project for numerous Dickinson County churches of all faiths including in Felch, Kingsford and Iron Mountain “We’re going to plant one tree in our church yard and dedicate it and inspire our people” and the rest of their share of the seedlings will be given to church members and others.

“Our church is going green and we are getting rid of all Styrofoam cups and plates” used during the weekly coffee hour after the service,” Piasini said. “You can’t imagine all the Styrofoam that is thrown away.”

“We are only going to use biodegradable paper products,” said Piasini, adding the church is trying to arrange a free energy audit to with a “goal to be more energy efficient.”

Catholic EarthKeeper team member Linda O’Brien said “from the beginning of time God has called us to be good stewards of the earth.”

“Our Catholic tradition allows us to embrace the EarthKeeper Tree Project as a way to continue our good stewardship of the earth,” O’Brien said.
Congregations can still request trees by calling Catholic EarthKeeper Kyra Fillmore, the project faith community communications coordinator, at 906-228-2388.

For tree planting information contact the SWP at 906-228-6095.

Related Links:

Interfaith EarthKeeper Team

Nonprofit Superior Watershed Partnership

Nonprofit Cedar Tree Institute in Marquette, MI and its environment projects:

Zaagkii Wings & Seeds Project: Native American and Marquette area teens protecting pollinators project:

Zaagkii TV on youtube

Zaagkii Project Story Part 1 Indian Country Today newspaper

Zaagkii Project Story Part 2 Indian Country Today newspaper

Zaagkii Project hailed as success by U.S. Forest Service

Zaagkii Project blog on wordpress

Non-profit Interfaith Earth Healing Initiative: Numerous environment projects across the Great Lakes Basin in cooperation with the EPA, American Indian Tribes and local governments

http://www.EarthHealingInitiative.org

Earth Healing TV on youtube

Earth Healing TV on bliptv

Earth Healing Initiative was part of the first EPA Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge with youtube and bliptv videos.

Cedar Tree Institute: Founder of EarthKeeper Initiative, Earth Healing Initiative, Manoomin Project and Zaagkii Wings & Seeds Project:

http://www.cedartreeinstitute.org

EarthKeeper TV on youtube has EarthKeeper and Manoomin Project including stories and a Manoomin Project music video & more

Manoomin Project story in Indian Country Today

Manoomin Project Story in World Magazine

Turtle Island Project: Respecting the heritage, culture and rights of Native Americans and other Indigenous Peoples and the environment

http://www.TurtleIslandProject.org

Turtle Island TV on blip tv

Turtle Island TV on youtube

Turtle Island Project myspace page

Turtle Island Project blog on wordpress

Turtle Island Project on MSN

Interfaith graphics by Justice St. Rain (Bahá’í Community) of Interfaith Resources – Special Ideas website

Call Justice St. Rain at Interfaith resources:
1-800-326-1197

Justice St Rain:
justice@special-ideas.com

Interfaith Resources
P.O. Box 9
511 Diamond Rd
Heltonville IN
47436

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About yoopernewsman

I am a news reporter, writer and investigative journalist and began my career about 40 years ago as a young teenager in Augusta, GA after moving south during the middle of high school. I'm a news reporter, writer & investigative journalist specializing in street news, plus Indigenous, civil rights & environment reporting. Currently volunteer media advisor for numerous American Indian & environment related nonprofits that include the Navajo Lutheran Mission in Rock Point, AZ & its executive director Rev. Dr. Lynn Hubbard, the nonprofit Cedar Tree Institute (CTI) in Marquette, MI & its many projects founded by Rev. Jon Magnuson, Author Joy Ibsen of Trout Creek, MI, Celtic Christianity Today (CCT) founded by Rev. Dr. George Cairns, the Turtle Island Project founded by pastors Hubbard & Cairns. In its third summer, the CTI Zaagkii Wings & Seeds Project & its volunteers built a16-foot geodesic dome solar-powered greenhouse that was built in this summer at the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) in an effort to restore native species plants to northern Michigan. It's located at the tribe's Natural Resources Department north of L'Anse along Lake Superior. During the summer of 2010, Zaagkii Project teens built & painted 25 beautiful reliquaries that are boxes made from pine & cedar that are used to store seeds for planting & included samples of Native American medicine including sweetgrass, cedar, sage & tobacco. From April-June 2009, I promoted the EarthKeeper Tree Project that planted 12,000 trees across northern Michigan. Co-edited "Unafraid," the second book by Author Joy Ibsen of Trout Creek, MI that was printed in May 2009 based on her father's handwritten sermons she found in shoebox. I edited numerous videos for nonprofit CCT. Began career 35 years ago as teenager in Augusta, GA after moving south during middle of high school. I was co-coordinator of the 1986 original James Brown Appreciation Day in Augusta, GA, where the Godfather of Soul was always trashed by local media who didn't report anything positive about the music icon. Mr. Terence Dicks was the other co-coordinator & most recently served as chair of the Augusta Human Relations Commission and serves on the Georgia Clients Council. Mr. Brown taught us to "fight the good fight" by battling all forms of racism & evil while not uttering a bad word about those who try to block justice, respect, fairness & kindness to all. As a child, I lived in the Harbert, Michigan home built by late poet Carl Sandburg, where the legendary author penned some of his greatest works including his Chicago works & Lincoln papers. The four-story home had a sundeck on the top & a cool walk-in safe in the basement. The neighborhood (Birchwood) has numerous cottages used for other purposes by Sandburg like the milk house where they milked goats. My parents remodeled fourth floor of the home that stands atop the Lake Michigan sand dunes/bluffs. They found items that belonged to Mr. Sandburg concealed in the walls including prescription bottles with his name, reading glasses, & a small, thin metal stamp with his name. I've worked for dozens of newspapers & radio & TV stations in GA & MI. I'm volunteer media advisor for several interfaith environmental projects involving Native Americans across Upper Peninsula of MI including the Turtle Island Project, The Zaagkii Project, the Interfaith Earth Healing Initiative, EarthKeeper Initiative & the Manoomin (Wild Rice) Project. The Zaagkii Wings & Seeds Project restores bee & butterfly habitat to help pollination of plants following death of billions of bees. Keweenaw Bay Indian Community youth & Marquette teens built butterfly houses, planted/distributed 26,000 native plants to help pollinators. The Earth Healing Initiative assisted EPA Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge. EHI helped organize interfaith participation across eight states for the 100 plus recycling projects (April 2008) involving recycling millions of pounds of electronic waste & proper disposal of millions of pills/pharmaceuticals. EPA goals were exceeded by 500%. Under an EPA grant, EHI provided free media services for the cities/groups/tribes including videos & press releases. The EarthKeeper environment projects include an annual Earth Day Clean Sweep (2005-2007) at 24 free drop-off sites across a 400 mile area of northern Michigan that collected over 370 tons of household hazardous waste. The 2007 EarthKeeper Pharmaceutical Clean Sweep collected over one ton of drugs plus $500,000 in narcotics in only three hours. Some 2,000 residents participated & many brought in pharmaceuticals for their family, friends & neighbors. In 2006, 10,000 people dropped off over 320 tons of old/broken computers, cell phones & other electronic waste, all of which was recycled. In 2005, residents turned in 45 tons of household poisons & vehicle batteries. The Manoomin (Wild Rice) Project teaches teens to respect nature & themselves by having American Indian guides escort them to remote lakes & streams in northern Michigan to plant/care for wild rice. The teens test water quality to determine the best conditions for the once native grain to survive. The Turtle Island Project was co-founded in July 2007 by Rev. Lynn Hubbard of Rock Point, AR (Ex. Dir. of the Navajo Lutheran Mission) & Rev. Dr. George Cairns of Chesterton, IN, United Church of Christ minister & research professor for the Chicago Theological Seminary. TIP promotes respect for culture & heritage of indigenous peoples like American Indians. TIP is a platform for American Indians to be heard unedited by whites. Rev. Hubbard says whites don't have the knowledge or right to speak on behalf of Native Americans. I specialize in civil rights, outdoor, environmental, cops & courts reporting thanks to my late mentor Jay Mann (Jan Tillman Hutchens), an investigative reporter in Augusta, who lived by the books "Illusions" & "Jonathon Livingston Seagull." Love to fish, hunt, camp & skydive. Belong to Delta Chi national fraternity. I was active in Junior Achievement, band played cornet. With my dear friend, the Rev. Terence A. Dicks, we were the co-coordinators of the 1986 original James Brown Appreciation Day in Augusta, GA, where the Godfather of Soul was always trashed by the local media who found no reasons to print or report anything positive about the music icon. I am honored to help the human rights activist Terence Dicks - with some of his projects including the nonprofit Georgia Center for Children and Education - and the economic initiative he founded titled "Claiming A Street Named King." I am the volunteer media advisor for several environmental projects across Michigan's Upper Peninsula including EarthKeeper II - an Initiative of the nonprofit Cedar Tree Institute in Marquette, MI. EarthKeepers II is an Interfaith Energy Conservation and Community Garden Initiative across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Goals: 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 Previously known as the Earth Keeper Initiative - that project included many environmental projects including an annual Earth Day Clean sweep at two dozen free drop off sites across a 400 mile area of northern Michigan. The target of the 2007 Earth Keeper Pharmaceutical Clean Sweep are all kinds of medicines. In 2006, some 10,000 people dropped off over 320 tons of old/broken computers, cell phones and other electronic waste, all of which was recycled. In 2005, residents turned in 45 tons of household poisons and vehicle batteries. The Manoomin (Wild Rice) Project taught at-risk teens (just sentenced in juvenile court) to respect nature and themselves by having American Indian guides escort them to very remote lakes and streams in northern Michigan to plant and care for wild rice. The teens conducted water quality and other tests to determine the best conditions for the once native grain to survive. I have always specialized in civil rights, outdoor, environmental, cops and courts reporting thanks to my late mentor Jay Mann (Jan Tillman Hutchens), an investigative reporter in Augusta, who lived by the book "Illusions."
This entry was posted in air, animals, Bahai, birds, blue planet, carbon dioxide, Catholic, Cedar Tree Institute, Chicago, Christian, Clean Sweep, co2, college, e-waste, Earth, Earth Keeper, Earth Keeper Initiative, EarthKeeper, EarthKeepers, ecology, electronic waste, environment, Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, EPA Great Lakes National Programs Office, Episcopal, extinct, faith community, fish, forest, Foster City, GLNPO, global warming, Great Lakes Radio, green, groundwater, HHW, household hazardous waste, human race, Ironwood, Jewish, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, leaves, Lutheran, Mission Covenant Church, nature, NMU, NMU EK, Northern Michigan University, Northern Michigan University EarthKeeper Student Team, oxygen, pharmaceutical, pharmaceuticals, pollution, Presbyterian, Quakers, recycle, religion, Religious Society of Friends, species extinction, students, Sunny 102, Superior Watershed Partnership, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Thrivent Financial For Lutherans western U.P. chapter 30918, trees, UGN, Uncategorized, Unitarian Universalist, United Methodist Church, Upper Great Lakes News, Upper Peninsula EarthKeepers, water, WBKP, WBUP, wildlife, WKQS, WKQS Radio, world, youth, Zen Buddhist and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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