ESCANABA - Participants involved in the Delta Force community leadership program learned about environmental and ecological issues Tuesday as part of the group's Environment Day activities.
The day began at Escanaba's NewPage paper mill, where participants learned a bit more about the paper-making process and industry, and toured NewPage's paper machine operations.
Particular attention during the tour was devoted to NewPage's fastest, largest and newest E-4 machine, according to Environmental Manager of NewPage's Escanaba Operations Todd Schmidt. He said the tour would help give people the scope and size of the facility since there are many in the community who have not seen the paper machines.
Inland Seas Captain Remy Champt talks to a group of Delta Force students during the group’s Environment Day activities Tuesday. Members of Delta Force spent part of the day on the educational schooner and another portion touring NewPage paper mill. (Daily Press photo by Jason Raiche)
The group also toured outside facilities courtesy of Schmidt and Environmental Engineer Dave DeVet. The outside tour covered the licensed landfill and wastewater treatment plant. During the tour, participants learned about some of the environmental responsibilities of the plant in relation to air, water and solid wastes.
Two additional representatives were on hand for activities at NewPage.
Stacy Welling, Upper Peninsula regional director with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), discussed the DNR community interface and the process for stakeholder involvement.
In addition, Jack Thomas, a land asset manager at Plum Creek Timber Co., talked about sustainable forestry practices.
Plum Creek Timber Co., is the largest, most geographically diverse private landowner in the nation.
Thomas discussed what can be done to manage forests for future generations in terms of productivity, recreation and biodiversity.
Participants concluded the event by boarding the Inland Seas schooner at the Escanaba Boat Harbor to sail the waters of Little Bay de Noc along with Schmidt, City of Escanaba Utilities Manager Don French, Inland Seas Captain Remy Champt and instructional staff from the Inland Seas Education Association.
Topics discussed on the schooner were issues related to the Little Bay de Noc fishery, exploring the science of studying the Bay, and looking at "what's beneath the surface."
"What we (Inland Seas) do, is promote stewardship of the Great Lakes," said Emily Shaw, a science educator intern with the Inland Seas Education Association,
She said one goal of the group's is that those educated on the ship will become better stewards, and will become aware that what people do to the water also affects other aspects of the environment since it is all interconnected.
"I hope that it's a bit better of a picture of how resources are used and managed in Delta County," said Schmidt, about what he hoped participants would take from Environment Day's activities.
He said the event showed how environmental and ecological issues are interrelated and impact the community.
Delta Force is a community development program founded by the Delta County Chamber of Commerce, Delta County Economic Development Alliance, Bay College, Michigan Works!, The Daily Press and NewPage Corp.
Delta Force's goal is to identify, nurture, educate and motivate new and emerging leaders around Delta County. Its other purpose is to involve participants more actively in community affairs.
According to Delta County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Vickie Micheau, this year's Delta Force program has 19 participants.
Delta Force typically holds its activities the last Thursday of each month, with next month's theme being Health and Human Services Day.
According to Micheau, the only requirements for the program are "a willingness and desire to dedicate a year to learn more about the Delta County Community."
Anyone interested in taking part in next year's Delta Force program should contact the Chamber of Commerce at (906) 786-2192.