Students turn back clock 40 years by moving forward with environmental activism that flourished in parent’s generation

Northern Michigan youth from

preteen to twenties protect

the earth in rebirth of 1960s

student environmental activism

The Emanuel Lutheran Youth group protects environment through projects, education and donations

Youth wing of Emanuel Lutheran Church of Skandia donates to NMU Lutheran Campus Ministry, support NMU EK student projects

(Marquette, Michigan) – Ranging from preteen to mid-twenties, northern Michigan students of all ages are participating in a wide variety of projects to protect the earth even spending time after school collecting refundable bottles and cans to raise money for environmental donations one dime at a time.

The Emanuel Lutheran Youth (ELY) group of Skandia, Michigan spent hundreds of hours collecting bottles and cans and recently donated that money to Upper Peninsula environmental causes undertaken by Northern Michigan University EarthKeeper (NMU EK) students.

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A successful fundraiser was recently held for the Northern Michigan University EarthKeeper (NMU EK) Student Team and NMU Lutheran Campus Ministry (LCM) to support environment related projects in northern Michigan.

The Emanuel Lutheran Youth group of the Emanuel Lutheran Church of Skandia gave a check to the groups from money raised during recycling and cleanup projects.

Pictured left to right are Johnny Bergdahl, Jon Berglund, Pastor Chad Christensen, Sammy and Breanna Bahrman (hidden), Sammy Bergdahl, Kendra Heikkila, and Elizabeth McCarthy.

(All photos by Greg Peterson)

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Rev. John Magnuson addresses the hundreds of people who attended the free October 2007 benefit concert for the NMU EK Student Team and Lutheran Campus Ministry.

Led by Pastor Chad Christensen, the ELY are the youth arm of the Emanuel Lutheran Church of Skandia.

“This year we were learning about the environment,” Rev. Christensen said.

The youth group has learned how “in our day-to-day lives, we can best care for the Earth and our surroundings,” Christensen said.

Formed in 2002, the ELY is comprised of youth ranging in age from 11 to 18.

The ELY learned this summer what they can do at home like creating a compost pile and the best use of household hazardous waste – everyday items that can have a negative effect on the environment if not properly handled, disposed or recycled.

“They learned about reading labels on cleaning agents and herbicides used for gardening,” Christensen said. “Why we should not flush pharmaceuticals so they don’t get in groundwater.”

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The Emanuel Lutheran Youth group of the Emanuel Lutheran Church of Skandia. Pictured Left to right are Kendra Heikkila, Elizabeth McCarthy, Andy Bahrman, Breanna Bahrman, Johnny Bergdahl, Jon Berglund, Sammy Bergdahl, and Pastor Chad Christensen.

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The Munising Band Greg LaCombe and Loose Ends played music that inspired lots of people to dance at the free benefit concert for the NMU EK Student team and the LCM.

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Greg LaCombe of Munising and his band Loose Ends perform in Marquette, Michigan

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The ELY presented a check to the NMU Lutheran Campus Ministry (LCM) during an October 2007 benefit concert for its environmental wing, the NMU EK Student Team in Marquette.

The student EarthKeepers, who are attempting to start student chapters at three other universities, are part of the overall Michigan Earth Keeper Initiative that was recently declared one of America’s 15 hardest working faith-based non-profits for the second year in a row by a national magazine.

Reminiscent of student environmental activism 40 years ago, the youths are being noticed in an area where some adult business leaders are supporting a controversial sulfide mining proposal.

The ELY members “are learning to protect the earth and they are concerned about the state of the planet that my generation is leaving them,” said Rev. Jon Magnuson, director of LCM and the NMU EK Student Team.

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During the presentation of the check, Magnuson thanked the Skandia youths for raising the money one dime at a time.

The ELY group “have the same environmental goals as the Earth Keeper students they are helping,” said Magnuson, who dreamed of creating the interfaith Earth Keepers ten years ago.

Hundreds attended the free NMU EK benefit concert featuring the Munising band “Greg LaCombe and Loose Ends.”

The annual NMU EK benefit concert is sponsored by the non-profit Turtle Island Project, its founder/director Rev. Dr. Lynn Hubbard , and Eden on the Bay Lutheran Church, all of Munising. Other benefit concert sponsors include Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and the public.

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Rev. Dr. Lynn Hubbard, left, founder/director of the Turtle Island Project who organizes the annual benefit concert, holds a paper with a list of upcoming events while Rev. Jon Magnuson talks to the audience. Magnuson is director of Lutheran Campus Ministry and founded the NMU EK Student Team, a vital part of the Michigan Earth Keepers.

Hubbard said he organizes the annual concert because “the student Earth Keepers are doing important work to protect the environment that deserves to be supported.”

The ELY group pick a different theme each year for their October lock-in retreat and in 2007 it’s learning how to protect the environment and putting those lessons to work.

“Prior to concert, we had come from (LCM) Lothlorien house and the NMU students talked to us about climate control and pollution,” Christensen said “We also toured the Marquette Food Co-op.”

The university students and the Skandia area youths both participated in the 2006 and 2007 Earth Keeper Clean Sweep that collected old/unwanted drugs and old/broken electronics like computers and cells phones. All items in the Earth Day collections were either recycled or properly disposed

Pastor Christensen said the ELY “wanted to give the donation to Lutheran Campus Ministry for their work in environmental care.”

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“We are learning in confirmation classes about the environment in the scriptures,” Christensen said. “In Genesis the Bible explains God’s creative hand is forming the world.”

“We learned from the NMU students that it does make a difference on how we dispose of oil, and where our trash may end up if we are littering,” Christensen said.

During October’s “lock-in” the ELY group “played games and trivia on bible and environment issues and held Saturday morning worship,” Rev. Christensen said.

The “lock-in” part is spending a night at their church, but the youth are very active for several weeks surrounding the event including collecting bottles and cans to raise money – one dime at a time – for organizations that help the community.

The ELY have raised money for the Nifty Thrifty Food Pantry, Inc. in Eben Junction and collected canned food from the Emanuel Lutheran Church congregation.

“Last year the youth had a fasting retreat so we learned about world hunger themes,” said Rev. Christensen.

The numerous ELY service projects include cleaning road ditches and caroling at Christmas time for people who are shut in for most of the winter.

Christian education is a big part of the ELY program including a retreat at the Fortune Lake Lutheran Camp in Crystal Falls, MI that examined “participation in church life and what that will mean when they get older,” Christensen said.

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In the spring of 2008, the ELY will take a field trip to Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota that is named after Martin Luther, the founder of Lutheranism and the Protestant (and German) Reformation.

Christensen joined the Emanuel Lutheran Church of Skandia in 2000 as his first calling after studying at Luther Seminary. Christensen hails from the Rockwellian town of Walnut Grove, MN – home of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the celebrated author of the “Little House” Books – a series of novels that inspired the Little House on the Prairie TV show.

The numerous ELY service projects include cleaning road ditches and caroling at Christmas time for people who are shut in.

Related info:

Emanuel Lutheran Church of Skandia

9812 U.S. 41 South

Skandia, Michigan

49885-0150

Pastor Rev. Chad Christensen

chchriste@yahoo.com

906-942-7245

email:

emanuel@tds.net

related websites:

http://www.godsworkourhands.net/ScriptLib/OS/Congregations/cdsDetail.asp?Id=A5A3A6AB92

http://www.godsworkourhands.net/ScriptLib/RE/Trendnet/cdsTrendNet.asp?Id=A5A3A6AB92

Northern Michigan University Lutheran Campus Ministry

Lothlorien house

Marquette, Michigan

49855

http://www.lakesuperiorinterfaith.com

http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/news_press_release,207119.shtml

http://www.elca.org/campusministry/celebrate100/pdf/essays.pdf

The Cedar Tree Institute:

http://www.CedarTreeInstitute.org

906-228-5494

Luther Seminary

2481 Como Avenue

St. Paul, MN

55108

Admissions: 1-800-LUTHER3

Info: 651-641-3456 .

Website:

http://www.luthersem.edu/

Fortune Lake Lutheran Camp

138 Fortune Lake Camp Rd

Crystal Falls, MI

49920

Phone

906-875-3697

Toll Free:

877-569-4968

Fax:

906-875-4829

http://www.fortunelake.org/

Marquette Food Co-op

109 W. Baraga Ave.

Marquette, Michigan

49855

Co-op:

906-225-0671

FAX:

906-225-1169

email:

info@marquettefood.coop

website:

http://www.marquettefood.coop/

Laura Ingalls Wilder – Author of the “Little House” Books

http://www.lauraingallswilder.com/

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About yoopernewsman

I am a news reporter, writer and investigative journalist and began my career about 40 years ago as a young teenager in Augusta, GA after moving south during the middle of high school. I'm a news reporter, writer & investigative journalist specializing in street news, plus Indigenous, civil rights & environment reporting. Currently volunteer media advisor for numerous American Indian & environment related nonprofits that include the Navajo Lutheran Mission in Rock Point, AZ & its executive director Rev. Dr. Lynn Hubbard, the nonprofit Cedar Tree Institute (CTI) in Marquette, MI & its many projects founded by Rev. Jon Magnuson, Author Joy Ibsen of Trout Creek, MI, Celtic Christianity Today (CCT) founded by Rev. Dr. George Cairns, the Turtle Island Project founded by pastors Hubbard & Cairns. In its third summer, the CTI Zaagkii Wings & Seeds Project & its volunteers built a16-foot geodesic dome solar-powered greenhouse that was built in this summer at the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) in an effort to restore native species plants to northern Michigan. It's located at the tribe's Natural Resources Department north of L'Anse along Lake Superior. During the summer of 2010, Zaagkii Project teens built & painted 25 beautiful reliquaries that are boxes made from pine & cedar that are used to store seeds for planting & included samples of Native American medicine including sweetgrass, cedar, sage & tobacco. From April-June 2009, I promoted the EarthKeeper Tree Project that planted 12,000 trees across northern Michigan. Co-edited "Unafraid," the second book by Author Joy Ibsen of Trout Creek, MI that was printed in May 2009 based on her father's handwritten sermons she found in shoebox. I edited numerous videos for nonprofit CCT. Began career 35 years ago as teenager in Augusta, GA after moving south during middle of high school. I was co-coordinator of the 1986 original James Brown Appreciation Day in Augusta, GA, where the Godfather of Soul was always trashed by local media who didn't report anything positive about the music icon. Mr. Terence Dicks was the other co-coordinator & most recently served as chair of the Augusta Human Relations Commission and serves on the Georgia Clients Council. Mr. Brown taught us to "fight the good fight" by battling all forms of racism & evil while not uttering a bad word about those who try to block justice, respect, fairness & kindness to all. As a child, I lived in the Harbert, Michigan home built by late poet Carl Sandburg, where the legendary author penned some of his greatest works including his Chicago works & Lincoln papers. The four-story home had a sundeck on the top & a cool walk-in safe in the basement. The neighborhood (Birchwood) has numerous cottages used for other purposes by Sandburg like the milk house where they milked goats. My parents remodeled fourth floor of the home that stands atop the Lake Michigan sand dunes/bluffs. They found items that belonged to Mr. Sandburg concealed in the walls including prescription bottles with his name, reading glasses, & a small, thin metal stamp with his name. I've worked for dozens of newspapers & radio & TV stations in GA & MI. I'm volunteer media advisor for several interfaith environmental projects involving Native Americans across Upper Peninsula of MI including the Turtle Island Project, The Zaagkii Project, the Interfaith Earth Healing Initiative, EarthKeeper Initiative & the Manoomin (Wild Rice) Project. The Zaagkii Wings & Seeds Project restores bee & butterfly habitat to help pollination of plants following death of billions of bees. Keweenaw Bay Indian Community youth & Marquette teens built butterfly houses, planted/distributed 26,000 native plants to help pollinators. The Earth Healing Initiative assisted EPA Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge. EHI helped organize interfaith participation across eight states for the 100 plus recycling projects (April 2008) involving recycling millions of pounds of electronic waste & proper disposal of millions of pills/pharmaceuticals. EPA goals were exceeded by 500%. Under an EPA grant, EHI provided free media services for the cities/groups/tribes including videos & press releases. The EarthKeeper environment projects include an annual Earth Day Clean Sweep (2005-2007) at 24 free drop-off sites across a 400 mile area of northern Michigan that collected over 370 tons of household hazardous waste. The 2007 EarthKeeper Pharmaceutical Clean Sweep collected over one ton of drugs plus $500,000 in narcotics in only three hours. Some 2,000 residents participated & many brought in pharmaceuticals for their family, friends & neighbors. In 2006, 10,000 people dropped off over 320 tons of old/broken computers, cell phones & other electronic waste, all of which was recycled. In 2005, residents turned in 45 tons of household poisons & vehicle batteries. The Manoomin (Wild Rice) Project teaches teens to respect nature & themselves by having American Indian guides escort them to remote lakes & streams in northern Michigan to plant/care for wild rice. The teens test water quality to determine the best conditions for the once native grain to survive. The Turtle Island Project was co-founded in July 2007 by Rev. Lynn Hubbard of Rock Point, AR (Ex. Dir. of the Navajo Lutheran Mission) & Rev. Dr. George Cairns of Chesterton, IN, United Church of Christ minister & research professor for the Chicago Theological Seminary. TIP promotes respect for culture & heritage of indigenous peoples like American Indians. TIP is a platform for American Indians to be heard unedited by whites. Rev. Hubbard says whites don't have the knowledge or right to speak on behalf of Native Americans. I specialize in civil rights, outdoor, environmental, cops & courts reporting thanks to my late mentor Jay Mann (Jan Tillman Hutchens), an investigative reporter in Augusta, who lived by the books "Illusions" & "Jonathon Livingston Seagull." Love to fish, hunt, camp & skydive. Belong to Delta Chi national fraternity. I was active in Junior Achievement, band played cornet. With my dear friend, the Rev. Terence A. Dicks, we were the co-coordinators of the 1986 original James Brown Appreciation Day in Augusta, GA, where the Godfather of Soul was always trashed by the local media who found no reasons to print or report anything positive about the music icon. I am honored to help the human rights activist Terence Dicks - with some of his projects including the nonprofit Georgia Center for Children and Education - and the economic initiative he founded titled "Claiming A Street Named King." I am the volunteer media advisor for several environmental projects across Michigan's Upper Peninsula including EarthKeeper II - an Initiative of the nonprofit Cedar Tree Institute in Marquette, MI. EarthKeepers II is an Interfaith Energy Conservation and Community Garden Initiative across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Goals: Restore Native Plants and Protect the Great Lakes from Toxins like Airborne Mercury in cooperation with the EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, U.S. Forest Service, 10 faith traditions and Native American tribes like the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Previously known as the Earth Keeper Initiative - that project included many environmental projects including an annual Earth Day Clean sweep at two dozen free drop off sites across a 400 mile area of northern Michigan. The target of the 2007 Earth Keeper Pharmaceutical Clean Sweep are all kinds of medicines. In 2006, some 10,000 people dropped off over 320 tons of old/broken computers, cell phones and other electronic waste, all of which was recycled. In 2005, residents turned in 45 tons of household poisons and vehicle batteries. The Manoomin (Wild Rice) Project taught at-risk teens (just sentenced in juvenile court) to respect nature and themselves by having American Indian guides escort them to very remote lakes and streams in northern Michigan to plant and care for wild rice. The teens conducted water quality and other tests to determine the best conditions for the once native grain to survive. I have always specialized in civil rights, outdoor, environmental, cops and courts reporting thanks to my late mentor Jay Mann (Jan Tillman Hutchens), an investigative reporter in Augusta, who lived by the book "Illusions."
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