Calumet Can - Building our Community from the ground up.
Real People Media promotes projects which help build community through historic and environmental preservation. We realize that we can only share the stories of others when a community is healthy and happy! Have a project idea? Contact us and together we can work on making the community a better place!
Wildflower restoration and beautification at Swedetown Trails Chalet - Calumet
This project is possible with a grant from The Upper Peninsula Environmental Council
The purpose of the project is to engage Trio Upward Bound (Trio UB) students and the general public in environmental conservation through the planning and planting of native plants and trees along the south side of the driveway leading to Swedetown Trails Recreational Area and the parking lot. This is the first step in a multi-phase plan to beautify the area with plantings that improve aesthetics and support pollinators and wildlife.
Volunteers will design and create garden beds composed of native plants: shrubs, trees and wildflowers. The plantings and natural rock barriers will enhance the park entrance, decrease water erosion, and prevent ORV drivers from trespassing into a vehicle-free area. Water erosion along the Swedetown parking lot is a consistent problem. Plantings will help with erosion and keep dirt and harmful solvents from making their way into the low lying areas containing vernal ponds.
This highly needed project will: engage the public in conservation, enhance the entrance to invite tourists and visitors; prevent water runoff and erosion, establish a windbreak, and create gardens beneficial to birds, animals, butterflies, bees and other pollinators.
The project is located in a highly visible and frequented public park. Each year, thousands of people visit Swedetown Recreation Area to hike, bike, ski and snowshoe. Many Trio UB students have a shared association to Swedetown despite the fact that they come from many different communities within Houghton and Keweenaw Counties. Students will take part in transforming the bare and depressing entranceway into an exciting visual experience for visitors. Wildflowers will provide color and fragrance in the summer while evergreens will provide lush foliage in winter. In the winter, these evergreens could be adorned with lights to create a festive entry. The gardens will provide an educational opportunity for visitors. Signs acknowledging grant funding and explaining the project will be erected. Signs within specific gardens will include information about the plants and their benefit to wildlife. Volunteer work sessions will provide an opportunity for people to learn about native plants and our conservation.
Early June. Photograph above. Trio Upwarad bound participants repurposed aluminum cans to cut 75 butterflies for the window display at the Keweenaw Storytelling Center.
Late June. Students and volunteer coordinators from Swedetown Trails Club and Real People Media plant 500 native perenial plugs along the East facing slope. We discovered that this "wasteland" is actually home to nesting painted turtles, killdeer, waterfowl, and sandhill cranes. Students learned about invasive species like spotted knapweed and invasive buckthorn and helped remove these species.
August Large boulders have been moved along the east side of the Chalet where native perennials will be planted. Starting to set Posts along the south drive which will then be strung with steel cabling to keep ATVs from entering this turtle nesting site. In addition to preventing the destruction of critical habitat, the posts help to make the entrance more visually appealing.
The plugs are doing great! Our plant expert advised us "The first year they creep, the next year they crawl, the next year they spring! " So patience is required. We're happy to report that all but a few plugs have survived and doing well. We planted drought tolerant native plants that can grow in our sandy poor soil. Not pictured is milkweed, butterfly weed, and pale agoseris.