Native Village
Youth and Education news
Volume 3 October, 2011

Red Lake To Restore Great Pine Forests
http://thecirclenews.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=577&Itemid=1
Condensed by Native Village

File:RedlakeIRmap.pngMinnesota: Most of the great pine stands are gone.  They were logged by the BIA, and the resource depleted. The big pine areas are now overgrown with poplar and other types of deciduous trees.

Today, The Red Lake Ojibwe Nation is working to bring back a cultural treasure.  Their new Forest Development Center will enable them to replant the majestic pine forests that once covered their homelands. 

The Forest Development Center contains three state of the art computer controlled greenhouses, a technologically advanced nursery, seed bank, laboratory and testing facilities. It is capable of producing 1,000,000 seedlings annually.

"The 50-year plan is to replant the 50,000 acre Red Lake Indian Forest," said Gloria Whitefeather-Spears.  "10% of the land is infrastructure, so 10% of the planting has been shifted to the ceded lands. The goal is to plant 250 acres each year per district, of an overall goal of 1000 acres per year."

red lake restores great pines 1.jpgAdjacent to the Red Lake elementary school, the center will do more than grow trees. It will open its doors to students for historical, cultural, and natural resource education. The forest work itself will also be an area for education.

T
he pines are of great cultural importance to the Red Lake Band, Whitefeather-Spears said,  "We pick our own cones so that Red Lake maintains it owns species indigenous to Red Lake, so these pines will be as native as they were over 100 years ago."

Seed storage is important. The greenhouse is set up to simulate all four seasons.

"We fool the seeds so that we can plant anytime of year by using cold storage," said Whitefeather-Spears. "

How to Fool the Seeds:

The freezer is Winter for the seeds
They are moved to the refrigerator to simulateSpring,

Then Summer is in the greenhouse.

Seeds fall in the Autumn which is their time for acclimating to the outdoors
(In the near future, plans call for a shade house to simulate Autumn.)


red lake restores great pines 2.jpgAt the greenhouse, workers test the soil to make sure the seeds have exactly what they need to be healthy.

 "We do ph tests on the water, and then modify the water for acidity that's proper for a particular tree, so that we can provide perfect conditions," she said.

The greenhouse helps regulates heat, light, cooling, shade, and ventilation. It has an irrigation system and a CO2 generator that helps keep the trees green and healthy. 

All water in the greenhouse is reused, with a "flow-through" system, water is saved and then recycled.

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