By Nancy Leonard
Make a Difference Day is a national day of helping others – a celebration of neighbors helping neighbors. Everyone can participate. Created by USA WEEKEND Magazine, Make a Difference Day is an annual event that takes place on the fourth Saturday of every October. The leaders of Michigan Technological University encourage their students to help their neighbors in the Keweenaw on Make a Difference Day, and this year, an overwhelming 700 MTU students volunteered their time throughout the community.
For the second year in a row, steward Nancy Leonard with the help of naturalist Karena Schmidt welcomed a group of 21 enthusiastic volunteers at Keweenaw Shores II Nature Sanctuary. This class C sanctuary protects 100 feet of spectacular conglomerate Lake Superior shoreline and the rare and threatened plants that reside there. The day’s project was the careful removal of invasive spotted knapweed that threatens the fragile rocky shoreline environment.
Meanwhile, at Estivant Pines, stewards Ted Solden and Charlie Eshbach, assisted by volunteer Peter Ekstrom, worked with a group of 10 student volunteers. The students carried lumber, cleaned and built new water bars, and rebuilt a rock stairway on the sanctuary’s Cathedral Loop.
After several hours of work at both sanctuaries, all the students were pleased that they could actually make a difference in the Keweenaw and MNA was thrilled to have their help! Thank you to everyone who spent the day with us to protect Michigan’s natural heritage.
If you’re interested in helping out at an MNA sanctuary in your area, visit MNA’s calendar of events for a list of volunteer days.