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Marquette, Michigan – During the first two weeks of May 2009, over 12,000 trees have been planted the interfaith Upper Peninsula EarthKeeper Team across a 400 miles area of northern Michigan and in Minocqua, Wisconsin thanks to volunteers at over 100 churches and temples.
The trees were planted near homes, camps, churchyards, schools, parks and many other places by thousands of volunteers from ten faith traditions.
Children of all ages helped make the project a success and underscored why its important to protect the environment - it's their future at stake.
The EarthKeepers handed out over 12,000 red pine and white spruce seedlings at over 100 churches and temples across northern Michigan.
This video details some of the planting, distribution and preparation for the 209 EarthKeeper Tree Project that started on Earth Day 2009 with the planting of a three-foot white spruce at Presque Isle Park along Lake Superior in Marquette, Michigan. Bishops and other EarthKeeper faith leaders blessed the tree as it was planted on a wooded hillside one day after a snowstorm.
In previous projects, the EarthKeeper Initiative has removed nearly 400 tons of hazardous waste from the environment - most of which was recycled - and involves the congregations of over 150 churches/temples from ten faith traditions in 50 communities, American Indian tribes, college students and other youth.
The EarthKeepers were founded in 1994 by Rev. Jon Magnuson, executive director of the non-profit Cedar Tree Institute in Marquette and Carl Lindquist, executive director of the Superior Watershed Partnership.
In 2004, the bishops and other faith leaders signed the original EarthKeeper Covenant - pledging to actively protect the environment and reach out to Native Americans. The religious communities include Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, United Methodist Church, Unitarian Universalist, Baha'i, Jewish, Zen Buddhist and the Quakers.
The group teams with Native American tribes including the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC). Another major partner is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that sent representatives to the collections
From 2005-2007, the group of adults and youth held an annual EarthKeeper Clean Sweep each Earth Day during which over 20,000 northern Michigan residents turned in household hazardous waste at 20 free collections sites across a 400-mile area involving all corners of the pristine Upper Peninsula.
With a message of encouragement from their faith leaders, enthusiastic congregations turned out during three-hour collections:
In 2005, over 45 tons of pesticides, herbicides, lead-based paint, batteries and many other hazardous substances from northern Michigan homes was turned in by residents during the first clean sweep. Partners included landfills and local governments.
In 2006, over 320 tons of electronic waste was collected including computers, keyboards, hard drives, other computer related components, televisions and cell phones. Nine semi-trucks transported the vast majority of the electronics to a recycler in the Lower Peninsula.
In 2007, over one ton of pharmaceuticals was turned in including more than $500,000 in dangerous narcotics. Pharmacists and law enforcement agencies were among the clean sweep partners and staffed each of the collection sites as required by federal law. The drugs were properly disposed in high-tech EPA-approved incinerators.
In 2006, the faith leaders and the head of the KBIC tribe gathered for a news conference with college students to announce the creation of the Northern Michigan University EarthKeeper Student team. It was the first time these bishops and other faith leaders had been in the same room and many met for the first time.
http://www.cedartreeinstitute.orgMarquette, Michigan – During the first two weeks of May 2009, over 12,000 trees... more
Marquette, MI - The bishops/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.
The Earth Day 2009 blessing of the trees ceremony was held on Presque Isle in Marquette.
Roman Catholic Diocese of Marquette Bishop Alexander Sample said 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."
The EarthKeeper movement is "focused on how the faith communities can work together to preserve this great gift that we have here in the Upper Peninsula” and its lakes, streams and forests, said Northern Great Lakes Synod Lutheran Bishop Thomas A. Skrenes.
UMC Marquette District Supt. Grant R. Lobb said "planting a tree is a gift for the next generation and beyond that."
The EarthKeeper team includes ten faith traditions ( Jewish, Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, United Methodist Church (UMC), Unitarian Universalist (UU), Baha'i, 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.
Throughout the Great Lakes states, people and groups "are replicating the work that the EarthKeepers have done here," said Carl Lindquist, SWP executive director.
"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 EarthKeepers co-founder.
The next day April 23, several faith leaders spoke about the project and protecting the environment to students at Northern Michigan University in the final of numerous "Sacred Planet" events on campus sponsored by the NMU EarthKeeper (NMU EK) Student Team.
On May 3, the 12,000 12-to-16-inch White Spruce and Red pine seedlings will be planted in all corners of the U.P. including at 100 churches and temples.
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 Carl Lindquist, SWP executive director.
From 2005-2007, over 15,000 U.P. residents turned in more than 360 tons of household hazardous waste at U.P. collection sites.
Some of the items were properly disposed but most was recycled including computers, cell phones, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, 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.
"The trees, in effect, will be planting us, said Reverend Tesshin Paul Lehmberg, head priest for the Marquette Zen Buddhist Temple Lake Superior Zendo and EarthKeeper Implementation Team co-chair.
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.
Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan employees reflected on what the project would've meant to late Bishop James Kelsey, the first signer of the interfaith EarthKeeper Covenant, killed in a June 2007 traffic accident.
"He'd try to find a place for a tree in his own yard" plus at the Page Center and office, said Jane Cisluycis, EDNM Operations Coordinator.
Kelsey would be "pleased that the EarthKeepers are getting stronger and more people are getting involved," said Kathy Lenten, EDNM Ministry Support Team.
UU member 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."
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.Marquette, MI - The bishops/leaders from northern Michigan's largest faith... more