University Scholars partner with Menominee Tribal Enterprises
Freshmen in the University Scholars Honors Program at MSOE have spent the 2020-21 academic year working with the Menominee Tribal Enterprises (MTE) to promote sustainable forestry. The Menominee Forest in northeast Wisconsin has been sustainably managed by the Menominee Tribe for more than 150 years and is a premier example of forest management in the world.
MTE’s goal is to not only perform forest management to provide maximum diversity of the forest, habitat diversity, and optimize growth, but also to educate the greater community on the importance of sustainable forestry.
MSOE students took on several projects to engage K-12 students throughout Wisconsin and raise awareness of MTE’s efforts. One group focused on creating a video game to help children learn about sustainable forestry. Children learn the benefits and disadvantages of cutting down trees; planting trees; sweeping the forest floor to remove dead trees, trunks and underbrush; doing a controlled burn; and extinguishing fires. The game can be played online for free at: https://htremote.net/mte/game/
A second group designed coloring sheets that were distributed and collected by Culver’s restaurants throughout rural Wisconsin for an Earth Day Coloring Contest. The winning entries can be viewed online: https://sites.google.com/view/earth-day-coloring-contest/work. The same group also developed a video to teach children about Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification and how the Menominee are leading the way in responsible, sustainable forestry.
Two more groups are working with MTE on a Peace Tree Project in Milwaukee. Plans were unveiled on Earth Day 2021 to plant the tree in Pulaski Park on Milwaukee’s east side. A white pine, which is a symbol of Great Peace, of a new unity together, changing and growing as a nation, will be planted in October 2021 in coordination with the Milwaukee Recreation Department. Additionally, the students are collaborating with a community muralist to create a mural for the park to further spread the message of peace.
“A growing number of people from all corners of the world are making a commitment to environmentally responsible buying and are making a conscious contribution to act as stewards for a sustainable future. The manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and consumers of Menominee and other certified wood products are joining the Menominee People in acting as “The Forest Keepers” to uphold the Forest-Based Sustainable Development Tradition,” said Nels Huse, MTE’s millwork specialist and marketing representative. “Our collective efforts to act as responsible stewards will enable all of our children to do the same. We are grateful to have partners like MSOE students that help us to get the word out on what is a sustainable forest. They have also helped in the Peace Tree Project as well. We made the announcement on Earth Day 2021 and in October we will be staging events around the state and the nation. MSOE will be our leader in the Milwaukee event as we celebrate a Peace Tree in Pulaski Park and a mural too.”
MSOE’s University Scholars Honors Program combines experiential learning, real-world projects and community service. Their work with MTE allowed them to explore innovative ideas, build relationships on campus and beyond, and develop the MSOE Mindset. Students worked collaboratively with MSOE's CREATE Institute to bring the projects to life.