Jul 03

Upcoming Birdhouse Building Workshop, MHAS/Neilson Spearhead Center calls for Board Members, plus lots of fun weekend events!

Hello, Green Living Bemidji followers.  It’s almost the 4th of July and I bet a lot of you are itching to get out and celebrate the holiday.  Before you do, take a read and get the latest update from our Sustainable Tuesdays program about our upcoming hands-on workshops and learn about new opportunities and happenings in the Bemidji area this week.

“Regaining Food Sovereignty”

On Tuesday, we gathered to watch the new local documentary “Regaining Food Sovereignty,” a production that was written by Sustainable Tuesday’s very own Simone Senogles!  We were excited that Simone, Scott Knudson from Lakeland Public Television, David Manuel from Red Lake, and Tom Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network were all there to answer questions and comment further on the documentary.

After we watched the documentary, we were able to learn more about what went into making it and get an idea about all the interviews and scenes that weren’t able to fit into the 57 minute feature.  This discussion gave everyone an even greater insight into all of the great work and powerful thinking of people in our region and beyond.

As our group noted, this is a documentary by the people — it’s not filled with “experts” but with regular citizens who are doing all they can to foster food sovereignty in this region, to take power back into their own hands by doing something as simple as planting a garden to grow their own food.  We also saw how this documentary aligned perfectly with our theme for this month of “Building Green Communities” — as Simone and others in the audience affirmed last night, food is indeed a community builder, and food sovereignty is one of the key pieces in a healthy, sustainable community.

You can watch the documentary on YouTube here, or in the viewer below.  I know I’ve linked to this before, but if you haven’t had a chance to watch it yet … I am telling you, you are sure missing out. It’s a must watch for our entire community.

A huge congratulations to Simone, Scott, David, Tom, and everyone else that played a role in this documentary.  Thank you for doing such great work for our community.  And to all those who attended last night, thank you for such a wonderful and thought-provoking discussion.

Next week, we are shifting to a different kind of building — we’re building birdhouses!  Come learn some basic woodworking skills while creating a home for some of our region’s local birds!

Rocky Carpenter, co-owner of the Rail River Folk School and carpentry teacher at Leech Lake Tribal College, will be teaching us some basic woodworking skills and helping us build birdhouses that can be used next spring.

Anyone is welcome to attend and learn, but if you’d like to build a birdhouse to take with you, please email me at cschuchhardt@bemidjistate.edu by July 7th so we can make sure we have enough materials.  If you’re taking a birdhouse home, please bring $10 to help cover material costs. Thank you!

Don’t forget, we have another exciting hands-on workshop coming up the week after next!  We’ll be making rain barrels on July 16th.  Same rules apply!  You’re welcome to attend and learn, but if you’d like to take a rain barrel home, you need to reserve one by emailing me at cschuchhardt@bemidjistate.edu by July 12th and bring $30 to cover material costs.

Mississippi Headwaters Audubon Society is looking for more board members! Could it be you?

Do you have a passion for Natural Resources and the outdoors? Consider joining the board of directors for the Neilson Spearhead Center/Mississippi Headwaters Audubon Society. They are most known for their youth nature camp at the Neilson Spearhead Center.

No need for formal education on natural resources!  They have 3 vacancies and would like to facilitate the diversification of their board with various skill sets as they move into a new era.

New board members would be would have the opportunity to help shape the organization into a new generation, so it should be fairly rewarding! Board members should commit to one board meeting per month (1st Monday of every month), plus around 10-15 hrs per month of various tasks. It is a non-paid volunteer position. They’re asking for a commitment of 2 years.  Click here for a job description. Below are some possible skills they are looking for:

  • Good with tools and facility maintenance
  • Strategist
  • Real Estate and/or Legal knowledge
  • Education/Educator
  • Organization Skills
  • Writing Skills/Communication/Media/Public Relations
  • Accounting Skills
  • BSU Connection
  • Connection to Red Lake or Leech Lake Band or Native American culture in general
  • Fundraising Development

Please check out their website for more information (www.spearheadmhas.org), or feel free to give them a call or email!  This is a wonderful organization doing great work in the Bemidji area, and I encourage you to get involved!

Bemidji recognized at the League of Minnesota Cities Conference for becoming a Step 2 GreenStep City!

Fifty-six cities — including Bemidji! — were recognized last week for participation in the Minnesota GreenStep Cities program, a free and voluntary program designed to help Minnesota cities achieve their environmental sustainability goals through implementation of 28 best practices.

Each best practice can be implemented by completing one or more specific actions from a list of four-to-eight actions in the areas of transportation, buildings and lighting, environmental management, land use, and economic and community development. Those actions are tailored to all types of Minnesota cities, and they focus on cost savings, energy use reduction, and encouraging innovation. Cities were recognized at an awards program last week at the League of Minnesota Cities Annual Conference in St. Paul.

Here’s a picture of Bemidji’s representatives receiving their “Step 2” building block!

Way to go, Bemidji!  We’re really looking forward to celebrating this achievement and everyone that helped make it possible.  We’ll have more details coming up on that celebration soon!

City of Bemidji’s Sustainability Committee meeting is moved to next week! 

We usually meet on the first Wednesday of every month, but because of the holiday, the Sustainability Committee will be meeting on July 10th at 6:30pm.  We’ll be discussing our upcoming Sustainable Homes Tour and GreenStep City Celebration to celebrate Bemidji becoming a Step 2 GreenStep City.  Anyone is welcome to come to our meetings and bring forth issues related to sustainability in the Bemidji area that you’d like to discuss.

There’s plenty to do around town this weekend!

  • Check out the Bemidji Jaycees Water Carnival schedule – they’ve got a full week of fun events set!
  • Don’t forget that The Seasonals are playing this Friday at Brigid’s, and they are featuring special guest Phil Broste joining them on the steel guitar!
  • It’s International Day at the Concordia Language Villages! The festival is open to everyone and requires no admission fee. It is a unique opportunity for villagers, parents and the public to learn about the language and cultural immersion programs offered, all at one site.  Cultural activities, village performances and international bazaar and a variety of delicious food from around the globe will be there to enjoy! Check out more details here. 

Have a safe and happy 4th of July!  Enjoy the holiday and we’ll be back next week!

As always, our program depends on your input and feedback, and we welcome your ideas and suggestions to broaden our community. Sustainable Tuesdays feature a variety of learning opportunities focused on sustainability that connect our beautiful, vibrant community and is a partnership program with the Indigenous Environmental Network, MN GreenCorps, Rail River Folk School and BSU’s Sustainability Office.

For more information, contact Caitlyn Schuchhardt at 755-3765 or Simone Senogles at 751-4967.

With peace,