Opinion

Elders teach kids about working in the Sugar Bush

Patty Winchell-Dahl

The ENP staff has been busy making plans with Andy Schmidt, the SHIP Gardener extraordinaire to plan this year’s vegetable garden. So many choices but they narrowed it down to salad fixings, squash and herbs. Other veggies will be planted at the larger hoop houses up at Mineral Center.

The ENP director and Andy are discussing the future reconstruction of the ENP hoop house. It is time to replace and update the 15-year-old hoop house. Plans are under way to enlarge it by four feet, make it more of a cathedral style with taller walls, use metal supports instead of PVC pipes and replace the old wooden frame with a more environmentally sound material. These changes will provide an opportunity for larger yields of vegetables, easier harvesting and a system that will last another 15 or more years. This is great news as we love our fresh veggies!

Six Elders were able to join the Oshki Ogimaag Charter School students and staff at the Sugar Bush Camp on Friday, April 7. We had a wonderful time enjoying the spring weather, the kids, the fire and delicious Cedar tea, granola with maple sugar and popped wild rice the children prepared for us.


Six elders had a chance to enjoy the spring weather when they joined the Oshki Ogimaag Charter School students and staff at the Sugar Bush Camp. 
Photos courtesy of Grand Portage ENP Six elders had a chance to enjoy the spring weather when they joined the Oshki Ogimaag Charter School students and staff at the Sugar Bush Camp. Photos courtesy of Grand Portage ENP Those Elders who could not attend were treated to the granola with yogurt for their meal on Tuesday, April 11. The children showed us the trees they tapped, the boiling fire area and explained their activities during the week. A Chi Miigwech to the staff and all the volunteers. What a wonderful learning experience for everyone involved. More than one student mentioned that they want to collect sap with their families next year. This is a great learning experience that will keep traditional activities alive and meaningful for generations to come. We are looking forward to next year’s camp.


Above: Bus Driver and Elder “Fish,” Larry Deschampe taking in the sun at the Sugar Bush camp. Left: Elders Denise & Dottie at the fire enjoying their treats with the students. Above: Bus Driver and Elder “Fish,” Larry Deschampe taking in the sun at the Sugar Bush camp. Left: Elders Denise & Dottie at the fire enjoying their treats with the students. A Chi Miigwech to Chuck and Loretta Flickinger, Mary Deschampe and Bev Pratt for all the time you have volunteered to help people with their taxes.

The Elders continue to volunteer twice a week with the “Reading w/Kids” program. We can still use more volunteers. Anyone interested with some free time please contact Carol or Patty at 475-2655 or 2002. These sessions are held Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11 a.m. at the Community Center and run about 15 to 30 minutes. This is fun and rewarding for both the students and Elders who participated.

The ENP staff wishes everyone a very happy, joyous Easter and spring!

Cook County has a vibrant and active community of elders. Each week we will offer Senior News to highlight our senior citizens. This week’s submission is about the Grand Portage Elder Nutrition Program courtesy of Patty Winchell-Dahl.



Grand Portage elders often go to the Oshki Ogimaag Charter School and read with the children. Here Carol reads with Talia. Or is it the other way around? Grand Portage elders often go to the Oshki Ogimaag Charter School and read with the children. Here Carol reads with Talia. Or is it the other way around?

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