Saturday, March 16, 2013

Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve: Rio Tinto Eagle Mine highly criticized at Public Hearing for Air Quality Permit

From Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve
Posted March 13, 2013, on their blog
Reprinted with permission

BIG BAY, MICH. -- The informational session and public hearing about Rio Tinto’s latest Permit to Install (PTI) application for proposed modifications to the Eagle Project brought attention to concerns about air quality, the environment and public health last night. Almost all of the attendees who spoke at the hearing were against the permit modifications.

There were around 60-65 people in attendance but the space felt very sparse as there were still many rows of empty seats in the Michigan/Huron room at Northern Michigan University’s University Center in Marquette, MI. A question and answer portion at 5 p.m. offered some attendees the chance to raise carefully composed questions about the situation to a panel of air quality experts who sat before us.

Although public questions were well articulated and based on the documents provided, the panel was not able to answer all questions satisfactorily. The experts evaded questions related to water stating they were not water quality experts. One main topic of discussion was the proposed plan to eliminate the fabric filter dust collector or Bag House on the MVAR (Main Ventilation Air Raise). In other words, the main vent for all underground operations will not have a filter at all if this permit is approved by the DEQ. The panel said that the underground dust will be controlled through the use of water and a hose instead of using a pollution control device. The water to be used for this purpose is of unknown quality and the process was not well known. Many participants were concerned about the baseline air quality data because it is geographically irrelevant, and collected in Gwinn, not the Yellow Dog Plains. Several participants also expressed concerns about computer modeling that was used to predict the emission of particulate matter. One person commented that computer modeling for mining has been found to be inaccurate 50 percent of the time based on a study. Other comments included: the lack of public trust in the company, a need for more not less environmental protective measures, the need for additional modeling which is stated in the participatory documents, the lack of a Cumulative Impacts Analysis, and the lack of a mechanism for 24/7 emissions testing.

The period for written public comments has been extended to March 18, 2013. To submit your comment please click on the link: http://www.deq.state.mi.us/aps/cwerp.shtml.

"If no one had opposed the mine from the beginning and we all just laid down and said 'oh well the mine is coming’ -- things would be much worse than they are now," said Chauncey Moran, the Yellow Dog Riverwalker.

"Our community feels like their concerns are not being heard, but they are. We are still affecting the way this is playing out. I really respect and appreciate the courageous few who remain dedicated to standing up for the people of their community and making their voices heard. Keep up the good fight," said Mindy Otto, Assistant Manager of the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.

Click here to read comments on this article, posted on the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve blog, or to comment directly on their site.

To learn more about the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve and their work, click here.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Orpheum Theater to host 2013 Spring Music Celebration, Silent Auction Mar. 17 to benefit Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter

HANCOCK -- The Orpheum Theater in Hancock will host the annual Spring Music Celebration and Silent Auction to benefit the Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, March 17.

Rhythm 203 -- from left, Sue Ellen Kingsley, Phyllis Fredendall and Norm Kendall -- perform folk music favorites at the Orpheum Theater durng the 2012 Spring Music Celebration benefiting the Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter. They will perform again at the Orpheum this Sunday for the 2013 Celebration to benefit the Shelter. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

Come hear musical performances by Rhythm 203 and Viney Willa. Enjoy great music, great auction items and great Studio Pizza!

Rozsa Center to present "Button Wagon" March 19, 20

HOUGHTON -- Hop aboard the Button Wagon, a show of mixed-up proportions and mind-bending contortions! March is the month for emerging artists at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts, and the Rozsa presenting series' "Indie Month" continues with Button Wagon, a truly edgy and unique duo from New Orleans, at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 19, and at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 20.

Button Wagon duo, Ember and "Poki." (Photo courtesy Rozsa Center) 

And what is Button Wagon? A mime named Poki, a contortionist named Ember, and an addiction with buttons all combine to form a 50-minute "circus and physical theatre show," suitable for all ages, that will amaze and intrigue. Starring Ember Bria, a button-addict cowboy-boot wearing contortionist; and her quirky-counterpart, Matthew "Poki" McCorckle, master of balance and object illusion. In an unlikely setting of enlarged sewing implements and a dapper burlap rabbit, Button Wagon is sure to tickle your soul, wiggle your toes, and entangle your mind with wonder.

Reviews include "Intricate and unsettlingly beautiful," by Phil Cramer, New Orleans Fringe Festival; "Go!" raves LA Weekly; "Two thumbs and two toes up!"
says Enci Box,
Publisher of Bitter Lemons.

According to Rozsa Director Susanna Brent, "We wanted to bring something completely new and different to Houghton. 'Button Wagon' is an act that is just making the leap from 'fringe fests' to bigger venues, and the Rozsa Center is leading the way in presenting their unique show to a wider audience. Come be amazed by Button Wagon!"

According to the Rozsa Web site, tickets now are $22 for adults, $21 for seniors, $20 for youth/students and a special $5 for MTU students with ID. For tickets, go online at Rozsa.mtu.edu, or call Ticketing Operations at Michigan Tech’s Student Development Complex (SDC), (906) 487-2073, or visit in person at 600 MacInnes Drive, in Houghton. SDC box office hours are 8 a.m. - 9 p.m., Monday-Friday, and 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. Saturday and 12 noon - 8 p.m. on Sunday. Please note the Rozsa Box Office is closed during regular business hours, and will only open two hours prior to show times. This performance is sponsored by the James and Margaret Black Endowment. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Environmental Unity Party to be held Mar. 15 in Marquette

MARQUETTE -- Everyone is invited to a party in downtown Marquette to celebrate the efforts of environmental advocacy groups, concerned citizens, conservationists, and others! It is being held at 6 p.m. Friday, March 15, at the Landmark Inn, Harbor Room, in Marquette.

FREE BEER, WINE, SOFT DRINKS and MUSIC by Mike Letts and the Marquettes. The event is an opportunity to meet representatives from Save the Wild UP, the Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve, WAVE and other environmental advocacy groups and learn about what you can do to protect the great lakes and other natural resources around them.

Join other concerned citizens to unite in celebration and prepare for the battles ahead. For questions contact jefferyloman@mac.com.

The Landmark Inn is at 230 N. Front Street, Marquette.

Cheap Therapy to play for "Customer Appreciation" in Rozsa Lobby Mar. 15

HOUGHTON -- Winter blues getting you down? Get out of the house! Come to the Rozsa for a free concert with Cheap Therapy this Friday night, during "Customer Appreciation" week at Michigan Tech. Cheap Therapy, a local band that plays a wide variety of classic rock tunes, will play from 7:30 p.m. to  9 p.m. on Friday, March 15, in the Rozsa Lobby.

Photo of Cheap Therapy © Bill Fink and courtesy Rozsa Center.

Although old man winter is hanging on outside, come hear some great music, dance a little to get the blood moving, and enjoy refreshments at the cash bar. As a thank you to Rozsa customers, this event is free and open to the public!

Cheap Therapy features Joel Tepsa on guitar and vocals, Mike Irish, on bass, Denny McKaig on guitar and vocals, Paula McKaig on keyboard, accordion, vocals and trumpet, Dave Rulison on guitar and vocals, and Tom Collins on saxophone and vocals. Founded about ten years ago, Cheap Therapy was made up of members of two earlier bands that decided to create something new.

According to Tepsa, "We were in two different bands that each lost some members, but wanted to keep making music. We all sing, we have a wide variety of instruments, and that’s why we can play such a wide variety of music."

The Rozsa Center is pleased to offer a fun, free Friday night concert for all their customers to relax and enjoy this Friday night.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

"Penokees Read" is LIVE at StageNorth March 14 -- Tune in on radio, online

View of the Penokee Hills in northern Wisconsin, where Gogebic Taconite (GTAC) plans to put a huge open pit iron mine. (File photo © Pete Rasmussen, Moving Water Photography, and courtesy Penokee Hills Education Project. Reprinted with permission.)

WASHBURN, WIS. -- Join those who care about the Penokees on Thursday, March 14, at StageNorth, Washburn, Wis., for a night of writers reading their stories and poems about the Penokee Hills. Starting at 7:30 p.m., the reading will be broadcast live on WPR stations 90.9 WUWS in Ashland and 91.3 KUWS in Superior, as well as on Northland College radio station 97.7 WRNC, and will be taped and filmed for further broadcasts. People may listen to the live broadcast online at www.wrnclp.org.

The event is free with a suggested donation to support StageNorth. Expect music and more, before, and after! Here is the program:

Part One: 7:30 p.m. -- Marilyn Wilson, Cassie McCrow, Jack Stewart, Rob Ganson, Anne Miller, Andy Butter, Ros Nelson, Maureen Matusewic, Melissa Helman, Phil Sorensen, Maggie Kazel, Mike Wiggins.

-- 15 min. intermission --

Part Two: 8:45 p.m. -- Justus Grunow, Eric Sharp, Eric North, Stacy Craig, Emily Loker, Rob Ganson, Howard Paap, Fred Bruney, Elizabeth Bader, Andy Butter.

Main Street Calumet Market to host free worm castings workshop March 13

CALUMET -- The Main Street Calumet Market will host a workshop on worm castings and worm casting tea technology presented by Tom Dumble at 6 pm. Wednesday, March 13, in the ballroom of the Calumet Theatre, 340 Sixth Street, Calumet. The workshop is free and open to the public.

Mr. Dumble holds degrees in Agricultural Engineering Technology and Agriculture Economics from Oregon State University, and has designed, constructed or managed small and large commercial scale greenhouses in several countries -- among them the United States, Nicaragua, Lebanon, Uzbekistan and the Ukraine.

Advanced worm casting technology is almost the silver bullet organic farmers and gardeners have long wished for. Tens of thousands of varieties of naturally occurring beneficial bacteria, fungi and other microbiology contained in worm castings are being harnessed to replace conventional fertilizers, pesticides and hormones. Worm technology is used to resurrect soils whose biology has been ruined by mineral fertilizers and pesticides.

For questions or additional information please contact Main Street Calumet 906-337-6246 or email ereese@mainstreetcalumet.com.

Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative: Wisconsin State Sen. Jauch responds to mining bill

By Sen. Bob Jauch, Wisconsin State Senator
Posted Mar. 12, 2013, on Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative

[On March 11, 2013 Sen. Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) sent the following letter to his constituents. It is reproduced in its entirety on Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative with permission from Sen. Bob Jauch. The following is an intro with link to the letter.]

Dear Constituent:

As you are aware the Governor has signed the mining legislation (SB 1) into law following partisan passage in both houses of the legislature last week.

November 2012 Senate Mining Committee: l to r: former Sen. Jim Holperin (D-Eagle River), Sen. Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center), Sen. Bob Jauch (D-Poplar), Sen. Tim Cullen (D-Janesville), Sen. Glenn Grothmann (R-West Bend, ALEC Education Task Force Member, International Relations Task Force Member). (Photo © and courtesy Rebecca Kemble)

Throughout the process, Republican leaders along with the Governor have falsely claimed that the bill would not reduce environmental standards. However, the day following Senate deliberation of the bill, Senate author Tom Tiffany finally admitted the truth -- that his bill would not only allow for "adverse environmental impacts" to occur during mining, but that the bill was written to protect the company in the case of an inevitable lawsuit.

The day the Assembly deliberated and passed the bill, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran a story that Christopher Cline, the owner of Gogebic Taconite, is dragging his feet to clean up groundwater contamination at his mining operation in Illinois. The situation will soon be referred to the Illinois Attorney General.

As I said during Senate deliberation of this bill, this entire process is a poster child for how a bill should never become law. The bill was written by a West Virginia coal company and modified to please the company. It is a sad day when this company with no roots in Wisconsin can have the power to control Wisconsin Government in an effort to weaken environmental policy, mute the public voice, and shortchange Wisconsin taxpayers.... Click here to read the rest of this letter on the Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative Web site.

Green Film Series to present film on bees' disappearance

HOUGHTON -- The Green Film Series will present The Strange Disappearance of the Bees from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. this Thursday, March 14, in the Atrium and G002 Hesterberg Hall, Michigan Tech Forestry Building.

Across the globe, the disturbing mass death of bees has more than just beekeepers worried -- at least one-third of the world’s food relies on bee pollination. The 58-minute documentary will be followed by coffee, dessert, and a discussion facilitated by Melissa Hronkin, apiarist and proprietor of Algomah Acres Honey Farm. Cost: Free, but a $3 donation is suggested.

The 2013 Green Film Series will continue with the following films and discussion in April and May, which will take place at the same time and place listed above:

April 18: Switch -- Join energy visionary Scott Tinker as he explores the world’s leading energy sites -- from coal to solar, oil to biofuels, many highly restricted and never before seen on film. (98 min.) Discussion Facilitator: Wayne Pennington, Michigan Tech professor and chair of the Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences Department.

May 9: Chasing Ice -- Acclaimed environmental photographer James Balog ventures to the Arctic to document the melting of ice mountains using state-of-the-art time-lapse photography. Chasing Ice depicts a photographer trying to deliver evidence and hope to our carbon-powered planet. (76 min.) Discussion Facilitator: Sarah Green, Michigan Tech professor and chair of the Chemistry Department.

The Green Film Series is cosponsored by Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative, Michigan Tech Center for Water and Society, Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, and Keweenaw Land Trust.

Monday, March 11, 2013

1913 Strike Exhibit to visit L’Anse

HOUGHTON -- "Tumult and Tragedy: Michigan’s 1913-14 Copper Strike," a traveling exhibit created by the Michigan Tech Archives, will be on display from March 4 to March 27 at the L’Anse Area School Public Library, located in L’Anse High School. The library will be open Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Poster for "Tumult and Tragedy: Michigan’s 1913-14 Copper Strike," a traveling exhibit of the Michigan Tech Archives. (Poster courtesy Michigan Tech Archives)

A special open house will take place at 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 17. Jane Nordberg, managing editor for The Daily Mining Gazette, will present "Pulp and Propaganda: Newspapers in the Strike Era." The event and exhibit are free and open to the public.

The exhibit explores a turbulent period in Michigan’s historic copper mining district. On July 23, 1913, members of the Western Federation of Miners took to the streets over grievances about pay and working conditions. The strike was marked by violence, including the deaths of more than 70 people, mainly children, during a Christmas Eve party at Calumet’s Italian Hall. Local mining companies refused to recognize the union, however, and the strike finally ended in April 1914. The conflict, sorrow, and tragedy of this confrontation between organized labor and mining companies affected local residents from all walks of life, created headlines across the nation, and continues to resonate in Michigan’s Copper Country today.

The "Tumult and Tragedy" traveling exhibit consists of 12 panels and includes photographs, excerpts from newspapers, documents, and songs from the strike era. A free giveaway brochure contains links to related web content about the 1913-14 Michigan copper strike online at http://www.1913strike.mtu.edu.

The exhibit will remain on display at the L’Anse Area School Library until Wednesday, March 27, and then tour to two other locations in Houghton County. The exhibit was made possible through a $14,500 grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional funding was provided by Michigan Technological University, Cranking Graphics, and Dr. Robert and Ruth Nara.

For further information, contact the Michigan Tech Archives at copper@mtu.edu or 906-487-2505, or the L’Anse Area School Public Library at 906-524-6213.

DNR to host public information meetings on wolf management

LANSING -- The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will host a series of public meetings in March to provide information to the public and answer questions regarding wolf management and the possibility of a future wolf hunting season.

The meetings will take place in the following locations from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. local time:

Tuesday, March 12: Gogebic Community College, David Lindquist Student Center, E4946 Jackson Road, Ironwood

Wednesday, March 13: Northern Michigan University, Michigan Room, 2101 University Center, Marquette

Tuesday, March 19: Wisconsin Street Hall, 610 S. Wisconsin, Gaylord

Thursday, March 21: Lansing Center, Room 201, 333 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing

The meetings will include a presentation by DNR Wildlife Division staff on wolf management techniques, including the potential use of public harvest as a management tool as prescribed in the state’s Wolf Management Plan, which was developed through consensus by a roundtable of stakeholders representing a wide variety of interests related to wolf management.

Following the presentation, DNR staff will hold a question-and-answer session with members of the public. Meeting attendees will also be asked to participate in a survey regarding the possibility of the use of wolf hunting as a management tool in Michigan.

"The public input we receive through this survey will provide valuable information as the Wildlife Division develops its recommendation on wolf hunting for consideration by the Natural Resources Commission," said DNR bear and furbearer specialist Adam Bump. "We encourage anyone interested in learning more about wolf management and a possible wolf hunting season to attend these meetings to have their questions answered and participate in the survey."

In January 2012, wolves in Michigan were removed from the federal list of endangered species. In December 2012, wolves were declared a game species when Gov. Rick Snyder signed Public Act 520 of 2012.

Upon the reclassification of wolves as a game species, the Michigan Natural Resources Commission (NRC) -- which holds the exclusive authority to set hunting regulations for game species in the state -- directed the DNR's Wildlife Division to undertake a multi-pronged approach to developing a recommendation on whether a wolf management hunt should take place and what the parameters should be. The process currently under way includes:
  •  Completing a wolf population survey
  •  Compiling a thorough review of documented wolf conflicts, including depredation of livestock and pets
  •  Meeting with the Wolf Management Advisory Council to discuss a possible wolf harvest aimed at resolving conflicts
  •  Providing public input opportunities at meetings and through written comments
  •  Conducting government-to-government consultation with tribal governments 
The DNR's recommendation on a wolf management season will be presented to the NRC for consideration no later than June 2013. Whether a wolf season will be established and what the season would entail is at the sole discretion of the NRC.

For more information about attending this series of public information meetings, contact Adam Bump at 517-373-1263. To learn more about the state's wolf population and Wolf Management Plan, visit www.michigan.gov/wolves.

Please note: A tentative meeting date for Newberry has been removed from the schedule of March meetings due to the potential for additional meetings later this spring. Dates and locations for any additional meetings will be announced once determined.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Petition signing to protect wolves continues in Marquette

By Greg Peterson*

Upper Peninsula coordinator for Keep Michigan Wolves Protected Adam Robarge gives instructions as Northern Michigan University students and others line up on Feb. 27, 2013, to help protect Michigan wolves by forcing a referendum in the fall of 2014 that could at least temporarily halt a proposed Michigan wolf hunt. (Photos © and courtesy Greg Peterson)

MARQUETTE -- Northern Michigan University students and others crossed campus in wind-driven heavy snow showers on Feb. 27, 2013, to sign the petition to save Michigan gray wolves from being hunted -- and a second NMU petition drive is planned for March 20.

Organizers said about 50 signatures were gathered from registered voters during this event, sponsored by the NMU EarthKeepers II Student Team and the Native American Students Association (NASA). 

Keep Michigan Wolves Protected organizers have until March 27 to get 161,305 signatures from registered voters to force a Nov. 2014 ballot referendum to decide the fate of the wolf hunting bill.**

A larger event involving many student organizations is being planned for March 20, 2013, at NMU; and organizers hope to have on hand representatives from the office of the Michigan Secretary of State to register people to vote.

Before the petition signing, Native American students and members of the EarthKeepers II Student Team spoke to the audience about wolf preservation efforts in Michigan and presented a video.

While many opponents describe a wolf hunt as trophy hunting, it's really a hatred of wolves, said Adam Robarge, Upper Peninsula coordinator for Keep Michigan Wolves Protected.

Robarge says to him trophy hunting involves polar bears, rhinos, elephants and other large species.

"This is hatred," Robarge said. Wolf hunters would be "proud they killed something that they hate."

Robarge noted the state of Michigan has "management practices" to handle livestock depredation but a wolf hunt will not stop the relatively few cases of annual livestock deaths.

"I see zero reasons that are out there to hunt the wolf -- you can't come up with one that is scientifically backed," Robarge said. "When it comes to the deer population, those two species were allowed to evolve with each other for thousands and thousands of years -- we don't need to place our hand into that."

Wolves "just got off the endangered species list so to hunt them seems premature," said NMU EarthKeepers II Student Team member Adam Magnuson of Marquette.

"It is interesting that people want to hunt an animal that they rarely see," said Magnuson, who has only seen a Michigan wolf in the wild a few times. "It seems abstract to me given there are less than 700 wolves in the U.P."

Northern Michigan University EarthKeepers II Student team member Adam Magnuson narrates a presentation on wolves just prior to a Feb. 27 petition signing that aims to block this fall's Michigan wolf hunt by putting a referendum on the issue before voters.*

"When you don't see an animal, my immediate thought is not to go out and try to kill it and eliminate the population," said Magnuson, an environmental studies and sustainability major.

"A lot of the people seem to think that the wolf is some big bad animal, but there has never been a recorded attack on a human in Michigan history," Magnuson added. "People need to do their research and find out that wolves aren't so scary."

NMU EarthKeepers II Student Team member Katelin Bingner, a biology major from Spring Arbor, Mich., said it is important to consider the ecological and biological effects of a large-scale wolf hunt, since wolves are an apex predator of the food web and vital to the U.P. ecosystem. Bingner said she thinks it's important to give the public a chance to vote on this issue.

Cueing up a short video during an NMU petition drive to save wolves and wearing a big smile is NMU EarthKeepers II Student Team member Katelin Bingner, a sophomore biology major from Spring Arbor, Mich.

Wolves were previously "in the U.P. for a very long time and they are really only just getting re-established firmly now," Bingner said. "Frankly I think there is still a lot broken in the world in our understanding on how things connect, but I think people's eyes are opening to the reality of the connectedness of humans to the wider world and everything in the world that we live with."

Among the reasons the NMU EarthKeepers II Student Team is involved in the wolf hunting debate is that they "are standing by the Native American tribes because it is so important to them," said Magnuson, who acted as emcee.

Because the NMU EarthKeepers II team is a faith-based group, Magnuson said, "we need to defend what they (Native Americans) believe in."

Tom Merkel, a peer minister at NMU Catholic Campus Ministry in St. Michael Parish, mentioned St. Francis of Assisi, a great saint who befriended a wolf, and Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, who, Merkel noted, is "very pro-environment," in saying the Church needs to protect God's Creation.

"He (Pope Benedict XVI) has made the Vatican very green which is pretty cool," Merkel said. "We are standing with the native tribes up here -- and the wolf is one of their religious symbols and we have to protect that."

Native American tradition: Wolf is our brother 

Bingner said the wolf "isn't our enemy -- the wolf is closer to being something like our brother."

Hannah Vallier, co-president of the NMU NASA and citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, agreed.

"I am ma'iingan-doodem so I am wolf clan -- and we believe that we are related (to wolves) and we are kin," Vallier said. "If I killed a wolf it would be almost like me killing my own brother."

Vallier noted wolves and humans have similarities, including a sense of family.

"Our mothers as humans are just as protective of our children as the wolves are to their pups," Vallier said.

Amanda Weinert, co-president of the NMU NASA and citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, said wolves "are important to tribal people" and are significant in Anishinaabe heritage and culture.

In a presentation preceding the Feb. 27 petition signing in Jamrich Hall at Northern Michigan University, Amanda Weinert, co-president of NMU's Native American Students Association (NASA) and citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, explains the importance of wolves in the culture of the Anishinaabe and other Native peoples.

Weinert explained a traditional story from elders that recounted how "the first Anishinaabe man was lonely and asked for a companion."

"Gitchi Manitou -- the Great Spirit -- gave him a wolf or ma'iingan," Weinert said. "They went on a journey to name all the plants and animals."

"When the journey was done they were told they could no longer be companions but they would still stay connected and would live parallel lives," said Weinert, a Garden, Mich., native. "You can see the connections between native people and wolves -- we've both been relocated, we've both been slaughtered, we've both been misunderstood."

Weinert said the thought of a wolf hunt in Michigan makes her sad and distressed. She feels a wolf hunt would encourage people to "go overboard" in shooting wolves "whenever."

Fear alone is not a reason to hunt wolves, several NMU students said.

NMU ecology major Alex Graeff of Grand Rapids said he would like to see minimal human impacts on wolf populations.

"I see humans as a kind of species that likes to destroy things and feel we have a dominance over everything else," Graeff said. "We've already destroyed wolf populations in the past and now they are making a rebound," he added. "I don't think we should all of a sudden go back to trying to control them when really their populations are pretty low."

Northern Michigan University students sign petitions to fight wolf hunting during the Feb. 27, 2013, event sponsored by NMU EarthKeepers II Student Team and the Native American Students Association (NASA).

NMU senior Max Wojciechowski said it's important to keep wolves a "protected species because traditionally it's a very sacred animal and it's not supposed to be hunted."

Wojciechowski, a NASA member and a native of McHenry, Ill., in the Chicago suburbs, added, "It coincides with my traditional values to try and protect the wolves."

Other students from Illinois also expressed a desire to protect wolves in the U.P.

NMU sophomore Monica Murzanski noted, "I am from Illinois so we don't get many cool rare animals like moose and wolves."

Murzanski, a native of Homer Glen, Ill., who is now a registered Michigan voter, said she believes wolves are a special animal.

"I don't think hunting them is very fair at all," she added.

Hunting Michigan wolves would be "more of a sport hunting thing," said NMU senior Rachael Raspatello, a native of Lombard, Ill. "If you are going to eat everything then its fine -- but I don't think if you are just going to hunt for fun that it is okay."

Wolf protections removed since 2011

In 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed western Great Lakes wolves from Endangered Species Act.

In a lame-duck session, Republican Governor Rick Snyder signed Public Act 520 in late 2012 turning the wolf into a game animal and giving the Michigan Natural Resources Commission the power to decide the creation of a wolf hunting season.

Anti-wolf-hunting groups are actively trying to defray fears about wolves and are attempting to educate the public -- especially those unfamiliar with the U.P. wolf packs -- about reasons the predators should be protected.

The NMU petition signing to protect wolves included watching the short video "The Timber Wolf of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan."

If the proposed wolf hunt occurs during the fall of 2013 in the U.P., Michigan would be the seventh state with a wolf hunting/trapping season, according to wolf hunt opponents who say wolves once roamed most of North America until being over-hunted and destroyed by humans.

Wolves have had little effect on Michigan deer population, anti-wolf-hunting groups have said, adding Michigan needs to increase compensation to farmers suffering related livestock losses instead of slaughtering wolves for trophies.

Restoring federal protections for gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region is the goal of a recent federal lawsuit that charges the removal of wolves from the endangered list in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin is threatening wolf recovery throughout most of their historic range.

The Feb. 2013 lawsuit was filed against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Kenneth Salazar by the Humane Society of the United States, Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of Animals and Their Environment, Help Our Wolves Live, and Born Free USA.

Minnesota had an estimated 3,000 wolves before they came off the endangered species list, while Michigan and Wisconsin had 687 and 782, respectively.

Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) Natural Resources Committee Chair Charlotte Loonsfoot, who is part of the EarthKeepers II project, has been collecting anti-wolf-hunt petition signatures in the Baraga and L'Anse area. Anyone in that area wishing to sign the petition may contact her at 906-235-4220.***

At the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, individuals wishing to collect wolf referendum petition signatures at one of Kewadin Casinos’ five Eastern Upper Peninsula casinos may call Jennifer Tadgerson at 906-635-6050 to make arrangements.

Editor's Notes:
* Greg Peterson, author of this article, is a journalist and EarthKeepers II volunteer media advisor. Click here to visit the EarthKeepers II Web site. Click here for Greg Peterson's video clip from this Feb. 27 event.

** Keep Michigan Wolves Protected is seeking to collect more than 225,000 signatures of Michigan voters to place a referendum on the 2014 Michigan statewide ballot that would allow voters to choose whether or not to enact the legislature's wolf hunting law. Click here to learn more on their Web site.

*** Click here to see Greg Peterson's video on EarthKeepers II, featuring Charlotte Loonsfoot and her work with native plants and the KBIC greenhouse.

The Campaign to Keep Michigan Wolves Protected will be gathering from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, Mar. 13, at the Ore Dock Brewing Company in Marquette. This is an all ages, child friendly event. Anyone wishing to support the campaign is welcome to attend. Music starts at 5 p.m. with the nationally recognized children's folk artist Papa Crow. Click here for details on their Facebook page.