Music co-op celebrates 40 years with 40 trees

MARQUETTE — Due to inclement weather and availability of appropriate trees, the rescheduled Hiawatha Music Co-op is now on Sunday, May 13 at 1 p.m.

The Hiawatha Music Co-op will team up with NMU to celebrate their 40th year by planting 40 trees in Northern’s Outdoor Learning Areas. The event is a collaboration between the Hiawatha Music Co-op, Northern Michigan University’s Sustainability Advisory Council, student leaders associated with GTU and EcoReps, and the Marquette County Conservation District.

This effort was the brainchild of Doug Kitchel, who served on the Hiawatha Board of Directors for the past six years. While on the board, Kitchel and other members began to think about ways to celebrate bringing traditional music to this area for 40 years.

“Northern Michigan University has been kind to the Hiawatha over the years, loaning us their parking lots at Jacobetti Center and the Public Safety and Central Receiving buildings for parking during the Festival. Donating 40 trees to the campus seemed like a great way to say thank you to NMU for their collaboration and support,” says Kitchel.

Professor Sarah Mittlefehldt, Co-Chair of Northern’s Sustainability Advisory Council said “When Doug asked if we’d be interested in helping with this project, it seemed to me that a tree planting was the perfect way to celebrate forty years of community partnership between the Hiawatha Music Co-Op and Northern Michigan University. It’s a wonderful way to commemorate the past while also demonstrating our commitment to the future.”

The trees will be purchased from the Marquette County Conservation District and will be planted in Northern’s Outdoor Learning Areas. These spaces provide educational opportunities to teach students about the ecology and geology of our region. The forty trees will be mostly native trees, such as American sweet crab apple, elderberry, plum, and black cherry. Native trees were emphasized because they are better at supporting native insect and native bird species.

Volunteers will also plant sugar maples and a few non-native fruit trees such as apples with the hope that future generations will be able to harvest the fruits of this collaborative effort.

If you are interested in volunteering at this tree planting event, please contact Sarah Mittlefehldt at smittlef@nmu.edu or Susan Divine at the Hiawatha office at info@hiawathamusic.org or come to the Outdoor Learning Areas located on the west side of campus on Elizabeth Hardin Drive at 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 13.