Gunflint Green Up-One Family’s Story

Mitchell will celebrate his Bar Mitzvah in a couple of weeks, and since Superior National Forest has been a part of his life since before birth—he was looking for a social action project and found a perfect match in the Gunflint Green Up.

Mitch joined approximately 350 people who planted 25000 seedlings this weekend in the upper Gunflint Trail area. (Hooray!) He brought his family–including his grandparents to plant trees. Incidentally, Mitch is also pretty good at chanting in Hebrew, which is handy for a guy heading into a Bar Mitzvah.

Mitchell’s mom, Christine, has been coming to Tuscarora all of her life. His grandma Sandy first visited over 40 years ago, but I believe this was their first time to witness ice-out on Round Lake.

Lily- (Gnome Story) is still finding fairies in the woods here. And…they left a little note for her in one of their houses, while she was planting trees! Note the hollow “fairy house” in the bottom of this tree. Apparently, they are invisibly swarming her head at all times. Lily named all of the trees she planted “Bessie.” She says some day, she’ll be bringing her grandchildren here and she’ll show them a tree and say “And here’s ol’ Bessie, I planted her back in 2009”

When I first moved to Tuscarora, 2 year old Harry would find me and give me hugs. How did he know I was a little homesick? He is a sweet boy who was adept at monitoring the alternation of red pines and white pines during the planting—only he and Aidan referred to the tree species as Fuzzies and Tall-ies.

Someday you may recognize Aidan in the major leagues. He could hit a baseball almost before he could walk. Really remarkable. He has all kinds of enthusiasm for planting trees…and for life!

Here’s Sid, who married into the Tuscarora family tradition. He and Christine keep the charm of the woods alive for these children. Incidentally, they’re parents who are particularly good at cherishing their children’s different personalities. That’s part of why it feels good to hang out with them.

This place has been part of this family’s history for 3 generations. Maybe they will never live here, but who knows what they will grow up to do and be? These are the kids who will eventually be the policy makers, the stake holders, the care-givers of this land. This is part of the magic opportunity of Gunflint Green Up.

Over 100 years ago, another boy named Teddy (far left, I think), had parents who must have also valued his individuality. They took him into the Adirondacks every summer, even though he had severe asthma. According to Seth Shteir, they allowed him to keep a snapping turtle tied to the household laundry tub, they let him feed baby squirrels with an eye dropper, and keep a tree frog in the parlor. And when Theodore Roosevelt grew up, he established Superior National Forest in 1909. This is what an individual can do.

Kudos to the Gunflint Green up committee (especially Nancy Seaton) and to the USDA Forest Service for making it all possible.

Kudos to Sid and Christine, for facilitating the experiences for their kids in the woods. Not only did the white and red pines get a jump start, but many kids also got a jump start. Here’s to the next 100 years of the Superior National Forest.