See our right-hand column for announcements and news briefs. Scroll down the right-hand column to access the Archives -- links to articles posted in the main column since 2007.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Community Arts Center presents tapestries by Sheila O'Hara

HANCOCK -- The Copper Country Community Arts Center is honored to present the June exhibit: "Strands of Time," handwoven jacquard tapestries by Sheila O’Hara, in the Kerredge Gallery through July 2, 2011.

Chief of the Desert - Navaho - jacquard tapestry by Sheila O'Hara, 2010. 35 x 20 inches. (Photos © Sheila O'Hara and courtesy Copper Country Community Arts Center)

O’Hara’s exhibition includes her new series inspired by Edward Curtis's early 1900s photogravure prints of Native American Indians as well as her own designs depicting lush landscapes surrounding her California home. Her exhibit at the Community Arts Center coincides with the Midwest Weavers' Conference, "Northern Wefts," where she will give the keynote address and teach three-day and one-day workshops. The conference, hosted by the Buellwood Weaver and Fiber Guild, will take place at Finlandia University June 20-25.

A Pomo Girl, tapestry by Sheila O'Hara.

The public is invited to come and meet visiting artist Sheila O’Hara at a reception from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, June 23, with a gallery talk at 4:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served.

When Sheila O'Hara was a child, her mom sent her off with two of her sisters to the Josephine D. Randal Junior Museum in San Francisco to take summer art classes. She remembers they would ride the streetcar to Market and Castro Streets and climb the steep hill to the museum where she took drawing, ceramics, jewelry making, and weaving for several summers. Everything about weaving seemed to suit her well, and she continued with it through high school and into college. She earned her BFA in 1976 at the California College of Arts and Crafts -- where she studied with such textile artists as Inger Jensen, Kay Sekimachi, and Barbara Shawcroft.

The Blanket Weaver - Navaho - by Sheila O'Hara, 2010. 29 by 20 inches.

Sheila O'Hara's tapestries have appeared in both national and international exhibits, including the 13th International Biennial in Lausanne, Switzerland, and a one person exhibition at the Center for Tapestry Arts, New York, NY. Publications featuring her art include The New York Times, American Craft, Metropolis and Fiberarts Magazine. Corporations, museums and private individuals that have her artwork in their collections include A,T and T, San Francisco; Lloyds Bank International, NY; the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt National Museum of Design, NY; the American Craft Museum, NY; The Oakland Museum, Oakland, CA and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, CA. Her informative and entertaining lectures and workshops have been given in Canada, Germany, Australia, and all over the United States. Since 1996, O'Hara has taught classes at several California colleges. Her expertise in jacquard weaving has provided her with many interesting assignments such as helping Sevinch and Company in Cairo get their AVL hand jacquard loom set up and running and participating in a Textile Symposium for Jacquard Weaving Teachers at the Lisio Foundation in Florence, Italy.

Konocti Calligraphy, cotton and lurex handwoven jacquard tapestry by Sheila O'Hara, 2008. 30 x 40 inches.

This exhibit is supported in part by a grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. The Copper Country Community Arts Center is located at 126 Quincy Street in Hancock. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Saturday 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. For more information call (906) 482-2333 or visit the website

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Kennecott Forum, Part 2: Comments on Eagle Rock, mining permit

By Michele Bourdieu

Campers at Eagle Rock, where Rio Tinto /Kennecott plans to put the portal to the Eagle Mine. Access to Eagle Rock has been denied to the public, including Anishinaabe (Ojibwa) people who consider it a sacred site, since May 27, 2010, when two campers were arrested here. The identity of Eagle Rock as a place of worship is a point of contention in the contested case against Kennecott and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. (Keweenaw Now file photo taken May 25, 2010)

MARQUETTE -- Court proceedings for the appeal of the contested case against Kennecott Eagle Minerals Company (KEMC), a subsidiary of Rio Tinto, and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) are taking place today, June 9, 2011. The four Appellants in the case -- National Wildlife Federation (NWF), Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC), Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve and Huron Mountain Club -- are appealing the State of Michigan's approval of the first mining permit granted under Part 632 of Michigan's Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, MCL 324.63201 et seq.

The Permit allows Kennecott to mine a four-million ton "sulfide" ore body located directly beneath the headwaters of the Salmon Trout River, a pristine trout stream originating in the Yellow Dog Plains and flowing to Lake Superior. The portal for this nickel and copper "Eagle Mine" will be located at the base of Eagle Rock, a sacred place of worship for Petitioner Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC).

At the fourth of a series of community forums held by Kennecott in April 2011, several public comments on the safety of the mine, the impacts on water and air quality and the violation of the Anishinaabe (Ojibwa) sacred site were made and recorded. Keweenaw Now presents here the second part of our series on this April 26 Forum held in Marquette.*

Chuck Brumleve, a geologist representing KBIC, who has studied Kennecott's mining permit in detail, spoke directly about the expert testimonies that have been made on the design of the mine for the permit now under appeal.

Geologist Chuck Brumleve speaks at the April 26, 2011, public forum sponsored by Rio Tinto / Kennecott Eagle Minerals Co. (KEMC). Brumleve notes experts have pointed out flaws in the design of the Eagle Mine and questions the State of Michigan's approval of the mining permit. (Video clips courtesy Allan Baker)

Michelle Halley, attorney for the National Wildlife Federation, responding to discussion on conflicts of interest, commented briefly on the fact that the judge in this contested case works for the MDEQ.

Michelle Halley, National Wildlife Federation attorney, speaks at Rio Tinto / Kennecott's April 26 public forum.

KBIC member Charlotte Loonsfoot, who helped organize a month-long camp at Eagle Rock last year until she was arrested while praying on top of Eagle Rock on May 27, 2010, also spoke at the April 26 forum. Loonsfoot spoke about the spiritual aspects of this sacred site. She has requested permission to conduct Anishinaabe ceremonies at Eagle Rock. However, since the company intends to blast an entrance to the mine under the rock, they have not been receptive to her request.

Charlotte Loonsfoot, KBIC member, speaks about the spirits that, according to Anishinaabe beliefs, inhabit Eagle Rock.

Jeffery Loman, also a KBIC member, who works in Alaska as deputy director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement, challenged those in the audience of about 150 people at the forum to think about future generations when dealing with this mining company.

KBIC member Jeffery Loman, deputy director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement in Alaska, speaks about the effects of the mine on future generations.

Speaking immediately after Loman, Carla Champagne, a resident of Big Bay, a town not far from the mine site, challenged Matt Johnson, Kennecott manager of external affairs, who facilitated the forum, on his explanation of where the company plans to drill.

Carla Champagne of Big Bay challenges Matt Johnson on his description of where Rio Tinto / Kennecott plans to drill to access the ore body.**

An extensive section of the Appellants' Brief against the mining permit approval for the Eagle Mine is devoted to evidence that Eagle Rock is a place of worship for the Anishinaabe people. The Brief describes what will happen if and when Kennecott drills under Eagle Rock: (The following excerpt omits reference notes.)

"The Mine Will Desecrate Eagle Rock As A Place Of Worship

"Kennecott's mining operations will involve the drilling and blasting of a 'portal' or tunnel directly through Eagle Rock. Before blasting begins, Kennecott will expose the base of Eagle Rock by removing earth with a bulldozer or excavator. Numerous large bolts will be drilled into the surface of Eagle Rock, and the rock will be covered with wire mesh and sprayed with 'Shock-Crete.' Kennecott will then use explosives to blast a tunnel through Eagle Rock. Steel arches will be installed and these arches will open a gaping hole emanating from the base of Eagle Rock.

"An 8-foot high chain link fence has been constructed around the mine's surface facilities at Eagle Rock as detailed in Figure 4-2 of the Permit application and required by the Part 632 Permit. Community members' access to and use of Eagle Rock will be (in fact as of this writing, have been) eliminated by this fence." (Appellants' Brief, pp. 48-49)***

Kennecott's fence near Eagle Rock. (August 2010 file photo)

Catherine O'Donnell of Marquette spoke about her family's participation in labor unions and reminded the audience that workers' rights, defended by labor unions, actually began with Native Americans' treaty rights.

During the April 26 public forum Catherine O'Donnell of Marquette speaks about workers' rights.

According to the treaty rights of Anishinaabe peoples on their ceded territory, it would seem from the evidence given in the Appellants' brief that mining activity at and near Eagle Rock would indeed prohibit people from these activities they have been free to do in the past:

"Unchallenged testimony on the record establishes that members of the Community and other anishinaabe tribes frequently access and use Eagle Rock and the surrounding 'mining area' and 'affected area' for worship, hunting, fishing, gathering of berries and medicines, and other activities such as the use of springs for drinking water, and that those activities will be impacted by mining operations." (From Note 17, pp. 57-58 of the Appellants' Brief)**

* See our first article in this series, "Residents concerned about water quality question Rio Tinto-Kennecott at community forum," posted on May 3, 2011.

** Carla Champagne, along with her husband, Gene Champagne are part Concerned Citizens of Big Bay, who have filed a Petition for Contested Case Hearing with the State Office of Administrative Hearings in Lansing, Michigan. The group contends that the DNRE/DEQ failed to require a Part 632 Amendment in the construction and extension of electric service from Marquette, Mich., to the Rio Tinto Eagle Mine site, located eight miles from Big Bay. See our Feb. 22, 2011, article: "Concerned citizens file contested case: Kennecott Eagle Mine."

*** Click here for the Appellants' Brief on the contested case against the DEQ permit for Kennecott.

Orpheum Theater to host music event June 11

HANCOCK -- Directly following the Houghton Spring Art and Music Festival Saturday, June 11, the Orpheum Theater at the Studio Pizza in Hancock will host Sycamore Smith and The Redettes of Marquette, celebrating the release of their new CD, "ED" -- Great punky folk! The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday evening, and The Redettes will be joined by M.SORD from Kalamazoo and Electric Park (Featuring Boone Fiala and Tony Laux) from the Copper Country!

This is a show not to be missed. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Admission only $5. The Orpheum Theater is at 426 W. Quincy St. in Hancock (former PIC Theater location).

Visit the Studio Pizza Web site for more information.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

24-hour fasting, prayer near Eagle Rock to precede June 9 MDEQ contested case appeal

View from the top of Eagle Rock, or Migi zii wa sin, a sacred site for the Anishinaabe (Ojibwa) people. Rio Tinto / Kennecott plans to blast through Eagle Rock as an entry for their projected nickel and copper sulfide mine. (Keweenaw Now 2009 file photo)

MARQUETTE -- On June 9, 2011, oral arguments will be made in the appeals of the mining and ground water discharge permits for the Eagle Mine project on Upper Michigan’s Yellow Dog Plains. These suits lay out the numerous ways in which Kennecott has failed to meet the standards of several laws and how MDEQ has failed to require the company to comply with these laws.

In August 2010 Kennecott's fence surrounds Eagle Rock.

Should the permits be deemed lawful, construction will continue and mining operations will begin. A site sacred to the Anishinaabe will be desecrated by blasting and drilling through Eagle Rock, or Migi zii wa sin. This may occur as early as mid-July.

At 6 a.m. on Wednesday, June 8, a Fire will be started in view of Eagle Rock and attended for 24 hours. Fasting and prayer will accompany the Fire’s presence.

Fasting site in view of Eagle Rock.

Please take some time on June 8th and 9th to help in the effort for truth to prevail. The truth must be understood for our environment, most importantly the water.

Meditate, pray and/or fast. With a united effort a consciousness can be raised for the protection of the Earth.

View of the Salmon Trout River. Kennecott's ore body is under this trout stream. (Keweenaw Now file photo)

All are welcome to visit the Fire. 1.3 miles west of the guard shack at the mine site along the Triple A Road is a fork in the road. Veer to the right. Continue 500 feet and turn right again. There may be two signs indicating "no snowmobiles." Drive between the signs and continue about one fourth mile. You are there at the northwest corner of the mine site.

See the May 24, 2011, posting on Stand for the Land: "One Can Make a Difference" (like the bird in the flock).

Take a moment to think of the Water. See "A Thought for the Water."

Portage Library Summer Reading Program to open with family fun June 11

Library Community Programs Coordinator Chris Alquist, right, assists visitors at the June 2010 registration for the Portage Lake District Library Summer Reading Program. (File photos by Keweenaw Now)

HOUGHTON -- Opening day activities and registration for the Portage Lake District Library Summer Reading Program will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 11.

Kids are invited to make crafts and everyone can create an ice cream sundae in the community room. Early registrants will be treated with a balloon hat or animal made especially for them by John Gershenson.

This young library visitor is enjoying his ice cream sundae during the 2010 Summer Reading Program opening day at the Portage Lake District Library. The "create your own sundae" activity is a tradition at the annual event.

The "Reading Takes You Around the World!" Summer Reading Program will continue through Saturday, August 13; and people may register throughout the summer. Participants will receive a reading log, book bag, and bookmark when they register and prizes as they progress through their reading lists. The Summer Reading Program is open to all ages, children through adults. Reading logs may include books, magazines, audio books, reading to young children, or being read to.

The Summer Reading Program series of events includes Storytimes with Maria Sliva every Wednesday from 11 a.m. - noon. The Houghton High School Key Club will also present Storytimes and a craft on days to be announced. Look for listings of programs and events in the library, the media, on Facebook, and at

Everyone is invited to join the fun. Let your imagination take you around the world!

For more information, please call the library at 482-4570.

Calumet Art Center organ available for practice

CALUMET -- The organ at the Calumet Art Center has been tuned and the blower has been reworked to new and the Performance Hall is open and available for organ practice.

The Calumet Art Center organ is now available for organists who wish to practice. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

The Calumet Art Center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Call 906-281-3494 to reserve practice time or to make arrangements for use of the organ when the building is not open.

Please pass this announcement on to other organists in the area. Donations for your practice time are welcome.

Copies of Christina Harmon's CD, "Eight Historic Pipe Organs of the Copper Country," are available at Ed Gray's Gallery and at the Calumet Art Center. The Calumet Art Center Organ is on one of the CDs.

Calumet Art Center to hold annual meeting

The Calumet Art Center will hold its annual meeting from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 9, at the Center, 57055 Fifth Street, Calumet. For more info call (906) 281-3494.

Houghton Spring Art and Music Festival to celebrate 10th year June 11

At the 2010 Houghton Spring Art and Music Festival, schottische-lovers dance to the Pasi Cats' music. This Saturday, June 11, 2011, the Pasi Cats will again be part of the music lineup for the Festival's 10th year. (File photos by Keweenaw Now)

HOUGHTON -- Celebrate the arrival of spring with the Houghton Spring Art and Music Festival happening from noon - 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 11, on the upper parking deck in downtown Houghton. The festival, now in its 10th year, provides an opportunity to hear live local music, spend time downtown, and shop at regional artist booths.

Houghton artist Miriam Pickens sells pottery at her booth during the 2010 Spring Art and Music Festival.

Located behind the Keweenaw Brewing Company, this year’s artist booths will feature stained glass, pottery, jewelry, fiber art, paintings, wearable art, photography, honey products, and many more quality art items for sale.

Award-winning author Debbie Frontiera sells her books at the 2010 Art and Music Festival. Look for Debbie and her booth at this year's festival as well!

There will be a variety of fun and free family art activities, including Stephanie Treviño's Art Bus, the Frog Hop scavenger hunt (offering prizes for visiting local businesses), a Plant Sale and the ever popular Extreme Bake Sale.

Artist Stephanie Treviño's Art Bus, temporarily parked here in Hancock, will make its public debut at the 2011 Houghton Spring Art and Music Festival this Saturday, June 11.

Music will be played by the following local groups:

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. -- Huffing Pink
1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. -- Gratiot Lake
3 p.m. - 4 p.m. -- Jellikit
4:15 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. -- Uncle Pete's All-star Barbecue Blues Band
5:45 p.m. - 7 p.m. -- PasiCats

The festival is supported by the City of Houghton, Brockit Inc., Brassard Media, MTEC SmartZone, Minnesota Public Radio, the Keweenaw Brewing Company, and Bohemia Printing. Thanks also to Good Times Music, Victoria's Kitchen, The Edge Tattoo, Keweenaw Hydroponics, and Framed by Kathy.

The Spring Art and Music Festival benefits the Copper Country Community Arts Center in Hancock. Visit their Web site for more information.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Carnegie Museum to host traveling exhibit, presentation on Keweenaw photographer J. W. Nara

HOUGHTON -- "Michigan's Copper Country Through the Lens of J.W. Nara" is a traveling exhibit created by Michigan Tech Archives that explores the life and times of Calumet photographer J.W. Nara. The exhibit is currently on display at the Carnegie Museum in Houghton through Tuesday, July 5.

Erik Nordberg, University Archivist at Michigan Tech Archives, will give an illustrated presentation on the exhibit -- which features dozens of historical photographs of the Keweenaw -- at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 7, at the Carnegie Museum. The public is invited and admission is free.

Born in Finland in 1874, John William Nara later immigrated to the United States and established a photographic studio in Calumet, Michigan, in the heart of America's most productive copper mining region. In addition to posed studio portraits, J.W. Nara's lens also captured the people, place, and time he experienced in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula. Copper mining and industry are an important part of the story; but Nara also captured the Keweenaw's rural landscape, including local farms, shorelines, lighthouses, and pastoral back roads.

For more information on the exhibit, contact the Michigan Tech Archives at 906-487- 2505 or via e-mail at or the Carnegie Museum at 906-482-7140 or email

Carnegie Museum Current Exhibits also include the following: "Golden Anniversary of the Portage Lift Bridge," a brief history of the bridges that have crossed the Portage; "Building Bridges," a hands-on look at engineering bridges; and "A Stroll Down Shelden Avenue: Commercial Development of Downtown Houghton 1852-1910."

Located on the corner of Huron and Montezuma in historic downtown Houghton, the Carnegie Museum is open Tuesdays and Thursdays noon - 5 and Saturdays noon - 4. Parking is available behind the building or in the City lot across Montezuma Avenue. Free admission. "Like" us on Facebook for updates on exhibits, events, and activities!

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Ryan St. Community Garden brings university, city together

Coordinators of the Ryan Street Community Garden in Hancock -- from left, Viki Weglarz, Keren Tischler and Barbara Hardy -- take a break from garden work on a sunny June 2, 2011. (Photos by Keweenaw Now unless otherwise indicated.)

By Leena Vänni *

I have no experience with gardening because I am a "city girl." When I arrived in Hancock, I saw a sign very near to the house where I’m living. When I found out it was a community garden I decided to take part, and I have had only a positive experience. In the garden, there is always something to do; and, after long days in the office, physical work acts as a great counterbalance.

Leena Vänni, author of this article, checks on the vegetables she has planted in her raised bed plot at the Ryan Street Community Garden. Vänni, of Tampere, Finland, has been in Hancock for several months working as an intern for The Finnish American Reporter.*

I have a private backyard on the other side of my house, so I had a choice to make. I could learn to garden all by myself on the shadowy side of the house -- or garden together with the other people who teach me and help me and are there to chat with while we tend to our crops. The decision wasn’t too hard. In "community gardening," the "community" comes first.

This is the first growing season for the Ryan Street Community Garden, which was founded in collaboration with Finlandia University and the City of Hancock. It is Hancock’s first community garden and part of a strategic and creative long-term exchange of resources between the University and the community. The idea of the community garden came from Glenn Anderson, Hancock city manager. Philip Johnson, president of Finlandia University, was inspired by the idea of the community garden. As Finlandia was tearing down old houses on its campus, the university was able to provide a piece of land.

Part of the City of Hancock's commitment to the community garden project is to provide water to the garden at no charge. Shown here, from left, are Joe, Bob, and Ken of the Hancock Department of Public Works hooking up a supply line for the garden off the existing water hydrant. Sustainable water use strategy at the garden is first to conserve water, then to collect and use rainwater from on-site sources, and as a last option use City-supplied water. (Photo © and courtesy Sustainable Keweenaw Resource Center)

"At Finlandia, we are looking for every way possible to build the campus and the community together," says Johnson.

He finds the community garden a great opportunity for the university to be part of a sustainable community.

The process of creating a garden required a lot of work. The old foundations and remnants of construction debris were filled in and covered over with sand and gravel. Very little topsoil was left to support a garden, and large pieces of concrete and stone foundation remained just below the surface. Because of this, the primary challenge to developing the site was to improve the soil.

At a garden orientation on May 7, 2011, gardeners discuss the community compost system and the importance of cycling nutrients to maintain soil fertility. Barbara Hardy, left, said one great feature of the garden is the fact that the gardeners can have an outlet for composting their own food scraps. (Photo © and courtesy Sustainable Keweenaw Resource Center)

"I am amazed how fast the coordinators made good plans and carried it through. The design of the garden seems to be as good as it could be," said one of the gardeners, Don Herman, whose grandparents came from Vaasa, Finland.

Herman is an experienced gardener and used to have a garden when he lived for 40 years near San Diego, California. It was a great place to grow fruit trees. Michigan’s Upper Peninsula has a more demanding climate, so he is approaching this first summer as an experimental period, planting several vegetables and finding out what will do well.

Hancock resident Don Herman waters his vegetable patch at the Ryan Street Community Garden on a sunny afternoon. (Photo © and courtesy Leena Vänni)

The design solution was to build raised beds.

"We designed the rest of the garden around the raised beds, working our ideas out on paper first and implementing them as the labor and resources are available," said the Sustainable Keweenaw Resource Center's Barbara Hardy, coordinator of the garden project. "This is only the garden’s first season so there is still much to be developed. In addition to the raised beds for growing annual vegetables, flowers, and herbs we plan to have a perennial food garden, a rainwater roof catchment system, an information kiosk, interpretive signage, public art pieces, and much more."

Mark Salo of Salo Contracting (on roof), is pictured here with his crew (from left) John Crooks and Mark Hill, during construction of the shed for storing garden tools and supplies. Salo, an experienced forester and timber-frame builder, generously donated his time to custom design and build the structure for the Ryan Street Garden. (Photo © and courtesy Sustainable Keweenaw Resource Center)

The piece of land had previously been a site of two houses, both of which were inhabited by nuns. During the groundwork, several crucifixes and other religious objects were found and collected. In a stroke of bad luck, these objects were stolen later on as they were waiting to be picked up.

Hardy has lots of ideas for the community garden. She hopes to use the garden for educational purposes. The variety of ages, experience levels, and gardening styles among the participating gardeners results in a natural and informal exchange of information that happens between people when they work together. Some of the new gardeners have no experience at all.

Because the garden is located in the heart of downtown and is surrounded by the Finlandia University campus, the site is very visible to the public and receives a lot of visitors.

"We plan to have demonstration areas and interpretive signage throughout the garden so people can take a self-guided tour and learn about different elements of the garden such as composting, cold-hardy crops, rainwater collection, native and companion plants, and more," said Hardy.

Barbara Hardy adjusts a row cover made of spun polyester. The covers protect young plants from frost. The completed storage shed can be seen in the background.

In the future, Hardy’s idea is to work with the university to convert the house adjacent to the garden into a learning center for classes and workshops.

Community gardens bring many benefits to the community, like stimulating social interaction, beautifying neighborhoods and producing nutritious food.

Hardy said that, for her, the most important value of the community garden is building community self-reliance, which she defines as learning how to meet the needs of our community with the resources and skills we have available within our region.

Hancock resident Joyce Koskenmaki checks on her vegetable plot at the Ryan Street Community Garden.

"Learning how to grow your own food is a fun and rewarding place to start," Hardy noted. "In fact gardening encompasses a lot more than just agricultural skills. You also learn about nutrition, cooking, carpentry, plumbing, masonry, local meteorology, geology, natural history, social dynamics and much more."

Ryan Street Garden coordinators, from left, Barbara Hardy, Keren Tischler and Viki Weglarz inside the tool shed.

Gardener Herman finds several benefits as well, like being a part of a group with similar goals and helping to start something that is meaningful for the community.

"Gardening is also good exercise, and it gives satisfaction to see something valuable grow," he said.

*Editor's Notes: This article first appeared, in slightly different form, in the June 2011 issue of The Finnish American Reporter (Vol. 25 - No. 6). Reprinted with permission.

See more photos on the Sustainable Keweenaw Resource Center's Web site.