It's Underway Update:
By Greg Peterson
Saturday, May 2, 2009

Upper Peninsula rainbow marks kickoff of northern Michigan interfaith EarthKeeper Tree Project is underway as volunteers begin bagging 12,000 seedlings to be planted this weekend

It's Happening! And it's colorful!

Sagola Photos provided by Jessica Schultz, EarthKeeper volunteer
Escanaba photos provided by Jill Martin, Presbyterian EarthKeeper Volunteer

(Upper Peninsula of Michigan) - Across northern Michigan, volunteers on Thursday began bagging 12,000 trees that will be planted in all corners of the Upper Peninsula this weekend by 100 churches and temples from ten faith traditions.

In Sagola, Michigan, a rainbow appeared over the Grace Presbyterian Church as about 30 EarthKeeper volunteers spent three hours bagging 1,500 seedlings.

Among those volunteering in Sagola were Marie Anderson, Sue Piasini, Gabriella Schultz, age 3; Chrissy Pringle, Brooke Hesse, Yvonne Schultz, Mary Schuteman, Jeff and Shelia Mott and their children Celia and Medoria Mott; Kassandra Donaldson, Mary Brault, Mara Smith, age 11 and Cameron Schultz, age 6.

EarthKeeper volunteers from the Presbyterian and United Methodist churches in Delta County separated and bagged 1,000 trees on Thursday (April 30)  at the Central United Methodist Church in Escanaba. Bagging was also underway in Marquette and numerous other locations.

Among those bagging trees were First Presbyterian Church members Kathy Christiansen and Jill Martin, plus Central United Methodist Church members Lois Nordin, Rocky Blixt, Bron Harmon, Cat Lindberg and Pat Rogers; all are Escanaba area residents.

Among the Delta County churches participating (followed by the approx. number of trees each will receive) are St. Stephen’s Episcopal, Escanaba (150); Bethany Lutheran, Escanaba (250); First Presbyterian, Escanaba (150); Escanaba Central UMC, Escanaba (150); Trinity Episcopal, Gladstone (150) and Calvary Lutheran, Rapid River (150).

Among the Dickinson County churches participating (followed by city and the approx. number of trees each will receive) are St. Rose Catholic, Channing (180); Zion of Metropolitan Lutheran, Felch (180); Our Saviour Lutheran, Iron Mountain (180); First Presbyterian, Kingsford (180); St. Mary Queen of Peace Catholic, Kingsford (180); Sagola Presbyterian, Sagola (420); and the Felch and Foster City churches including Mission Covenant Church in Foster City (180).

Most of the 12,000 12 to 16 inch White Spruce and Red Pine seedlings in the EarthKeeper Tree Project will be planted on Sunday (May 3)

The EarthKeeper co-founders are Carl Lindquist, executive director of the nonprofit Superior Watershed Partnership, and Rev. Jon Magnuson of Marquette. Magnuson is campus pastor for Lutheran Campus Ministry at Northern Michigan University and executive director of the nonprofit Cedar Tree Institute in Marquette.

The Earth Keeper Implementation Team co-chairs are Gail Griffith, who is a member of Marquette Unitarian Universalist Congregation, and Rev. Tesshin Paul Lehmberg, head priest of Lake Superior Zendo, a Marquette Zen Buddhist Temple.

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.

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.

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.

For details on the tree distribution call 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.

U.P. EarthKeeper Team:
Nonprofit Superior Watershed Partnership