By Kristi Kates
Running March 31 through May 1 in Cheboygan, Petoskey and the Straits
area, Earth Week Plus takes Earth Day (Friday, April 22) to the maximum
for the Northern Michigan area. Put together by the ambitious Laren Corie
(also one-half of the music duo Moonlight Red), Earth Week Plus has, he
says, been taking up his time 24/7, around the clock for the past few
weeks - but its looking as if his efforts will be well worth it.
This is the fourth year that these events have been happening, Corie
explains. The first two were quite small, one-day events. But last year,
the Straits Area Audubon Society decided to take it under their wing, and
with the help of some others, we created Earth Week as an expanded series
of Earth day related events. The two weeks and 29 various events pulled in
just under a thousand participants; this year, we are expanding further,
so Earth Week Plus will span the whole month of April, plus a little more
at each end.
This years sponsors and participants are expanding, as well, including a
plethora of environmental non-profits such as Tip of the Mitt Watershed
Council, Little Traverse Conservancy, MSU Extension, the National Wildlife
Foundation, the Emmet Conservation District, the U of M Biological
Station, and many more. But Corie also explains that, while they greatly
appreciate their sponsors, its the people that are really making it a
Earth Week Plus is a fairly small group of dedicated, inspired people,
he says, who have gotten together specifically for the purpose of
organizing this series of events as Spring returns. Three of us are
committee leaders, but it truly is a larger group effort. And we welcome
anyone else who would like to help out.
The main event is called The Earth Week Plus Expo, a conference of sorts
that is functioning as a large, central event that Corie says will make
the drive worthwhile for the neighbors who live at a greater distance.
So this year, on Saturday afternoon, April 16, at the Cheboygan Middle
School building, our Expo will bring together 16 of our nature and
sustainable living sessions, plus displays and music, all in one location,
on one afternoon, Corie says, as with all of our Earth Week Plus events,
the Expo is free to the public.
MUSIC TO MAPLE SYRUP
There are plenty of additional events to choose from, as well. Cories own
musical group, the aforementioned Moonlight Red, will be performing, as
will folk musician Rick Meisterheim.
Live music is always a part of good living, Corie says.
And the other events range from a maple syrup session in Wolverine to a
solar open house in Mackinaw City; owl banding at the Headlands Park to
Earth Day cleanups in Harbor Springs to the presentation/discussion of the
movie Gasland (about natural gas fracking) by Tip of the Mitt Watershed
Council. (A full schedule is available via Earth Week Plus brochure and
website.) Its an earth-friendly lineup aimed to both educate the public
and allow them to have fun while learning. A well-selected lineup of
presenters will also enrich the experiences.
We actually have several presenters from environmental organizations that
are familiar to the Petoskey area, Corie says, Maureen Stine of TOMWC
and www.natureologist.com will be doing a presentation, as will Mike
Cromley, speaker with the Timber Wolf Alliance and Little Traverse
Conservancy. He will be talking about our growing wolf population in
Northern Lower Michigan. The Little Traverse Conservancy will also be
doing a couple of other presentations at the Expo. And well have raptors
from Northwings in Harbor Springs. We are strongly connected to the Little
Corie says that, with all of this hard work, he hopes to accomplish some
simple goals that will help people live better while helping the
environment and the planet.
Mainly, we want to share the excitement and joy already known by those of
us who have been enjoying the many wonders of living with nature in a more
sustainable manner, he says, and, in some cases, such as my own, solar
and energy-efficient presentations are another goal, to show people how to
save money at the same time.
The main reason behind Earth Week Plus, he continues, is to bring
together all Northern Michigan people to celebrate and share knowledge
that can move us all toward a more Earth-friendly, sustainable way of
living in this beautiful region of ours.
For more information on Earth Week Plus and its events, visit