MARQUETTE, Mich.--With support from an academic service learning grant, Northern Michigan University students in a protected area management course took a field trip to Superior Central School in Eben Junction. They braved frigid temperatures to tour the grounds and learn more about several service learning projects they will conduct this semester.
"This year we chose to work with Superior Central because of the variety of outdoor land management projects they are undertaking,” said David Kronk, instructor in the School of Health and Human Performance. “Under the direction of teacher Tim Bliss, the school has embarked on a food and natural resources initiative. They are growing their own food in a hoop house, developing forest management plans and designing ski trails, hiking trails, fit strip trails and nature trails to incorporate their school's abundant natural resources into their curriculum.”
While snowshoeing on the school grounds, Bliss showed the class the hoop house and most trail locations. Forester Matt Watkeys from the Marquette Conservation District showed the students the school forest and discussed possible management of that area.
Kronk said he believes “some of the best education happens when students are involved in real-world problem solving. The service learning projects the students will undertake this semester include the development of plans to:
- Determine human impact of the landscape from introduction of a trails system
- Map the property with GPS and GIS
- Develop inventories of plants
- Develop a system for monitoring plants
- Remove invasive species
- Summarize the cultural history of the site (an old limestone quarry)
- Prepare interpretive brochures about the school land area projects
- Teach cropland management
- Develop an orchard
- Develop a Christmas tree farm operation
- Develop a sugar bush operation