NAWO received a grant from the Minnesota Environmental Fund to fund two new installations of our Wild Berry Project, one with the Grand Portage Tribe and the second with Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College at Cloquet.
These funds are the results of a Federal legal settlement when Mineralien Schiffahrt, the German Companys’ MST bulk freighter Cornelia dumped oily wastewater into the Great Lakes.
Thirty one families on the Fond du Lac Reservation chose to participate in the first distribution of fruit trees and bushes through the collaborative effort between NAWO and the Tribal and Community College. Apple trees, plum trees, blueberries and raspberries were included in the initial planting. A gravel bed and Hugel raised bed infrastructure were installed to continue an ongoing distribution program.
This gravel bed will be used to start trees that are culturally significant to the Ojibwe people. The impact of climate change will forever change the composition of forest in the Ojibwe Ceded Territories. Fond du Lac Resource Management is currently adopting management strategies that will help mitigate the coming changes. Demonstrations of good gardening methods will be hosted throughout the growing and harvest season. All produce will be used for cooking, nutrition, and herbal medicine workshops as well as community feasts.
The Grand Portage Band planted cherry, plum, apple, pear and apricot trees as well as grapes, strawberries, honey berries and josta berries. 52 Tribal families requested participation in the Berry Project, developed the plan and identified their fruits of choice. Special attention was paid to the changes in climate and shifts to species that are still preferred by tribal members, but more able to survive the shifting temperatures. Youth from the Charter School and the Local Boy Scouts assisted in the labor to plant trees and bushes in a Community Orchard and strawberry garden at the School.