Celebrate One of America’s Most Influential Naturalists at the Les Cheneaux Aldo Leopold Festival

LES CHENEAUX: On behalf of Clark Township, our Chamber of Commerce & Tourist Association and many more community organizations, we welcome you to the 3rd Annual Les Cheneaux Aldo Leopold Festival on June 1–4 in Les Cheneaux!

Last year we came together in celebration of Aldo Leopold’s legacy in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and the Grand Opening of the North Huron Birding Trail. The festival was a great success! This year, we invite you to join us again in exploring our local connection to of one of America’s most influential naturalists through a variety of activities, excursions and featured presentations taking place in Les Cheneaux.

Each day, Woods & Water Ecotours will be offering a guided paddle through clear blue waters and forested shoreline once traveled by Aldo Leopold. Two films highlighting the intricate histories and ecosystems of the Great Lakes, Project: Ice (2014) and Making Waves: Battle for the Great Lakes (2016), will be shown at the Les Cheneaux Community Schools auditorium. Both documentaries are a “must see” for everyone who lives on or loves the Great Lakes.

For those interested in a closer look at the flora and fauna of Les Cheneaux, be sure to participate in the birding and wildflower trips led by some of our local experts. Naturalist, Moira “Pat” Wilson will be joining us again to lead wildflower walks and share her knowledge of the delightful plant species of our area. Birding trips for grassland and marsh birds, warblers and boreal breeding birds will be led by MI Sea Grant Extension Educator, Elliot Nelson, and Dave Ewert of The Nature Conservancy. Children and adults alike are invited to try hands-on workshops. Stop by the Old Shell Gallery in Cedarville, where local artists will be hosting children’s activities in advanced paper mâché and cloud clay, or visit Pickle Point in Hessel to construct your own bird houses and nesting boxes at the “Green Bird” family workshop. Don’t forget to sign up for the ALF paddle-run-bike triathlon, or to join us for the Les Cheneaux Lion’s Club community picnic to round out the weekend’s festivities.

We hope you will also consider attending some of the 2017 Leopold Festival highlights:

“Aldo Leopold and the Slow Fire”—Executive Director of Interlochen Public Radio, Peter Payette, leads a public discussion of what Aldo Leopold described in 1944 as a slow “biological fire,” referring to the loss of rich forestland habitat to the over-grazing of large deer herds. Is the slow fire still burning across the forests of the upper Great Lakes? Come join in the conversation to find out.

“Geology of the Les Cheneaux Area” – Michigan geologist, Ken VanDellen, provides a visual explanation of what is called the Niagara Escarpment, which includes the Les Cheneaux Area. This presentation is followed by a bus trip tour of the Carmeuse Lime Stone Quarry.

“Great Lakes Mammals with Wil Reding, AKA Yas Ennya Oyaka” – “Yas Ennya Oyaka” has been sharing his stories and information for over 31 years. Come listen and learn about Michigan mammals through Yas’ lively and interactive storytelling.

“Tying Your Fishing Flies” –­ Local fisherman, Fred Hofnagle, provides an introduction to fly fishing, the equipment needed and the usage of certain flies to catch different kinds of fish. Fred will also demonstrate how to tie a basic fly, as well as the fundamentals of fly casting.

This year we are offering a new, online registration system for festival activities. Visit www.aldoleopoldfestival.com to purchase your $5 wristband for participation in a number of festival activities. Exceptions include the triathlon, “Green Bird” birdhouse workshop, and kayak excursions, all of which have additional fees. Wristbands purchased online may be picked up at the Hessel School House (Avery Arts & Nature Learning Center), as well as at the Les Cheneaux Community Schools auditorium before the feature films. Some events require advanced registration. Please check the website and follow registration directions for each event.

For general information on lodging, restaurants and taverns, and other services available in our area, visit www.lescheneaux.org or www.lescheneaux.net. To learn more about the North Huron Birding Trail, please visit www.northhuronbirding.com. Bicycle and kayak rentals are available at Woods & Water Ecotours or by phone at 906.484.4157. For all other festival-related questions and information, please contact the Hessel School at [email protected] or by phone at 906.484.1333.

We look forward to seeing you here at this year’s festival!

Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There:

Acts of creation are ordinarily reserved for gods and poets, but humbler folk may circumvent this restriction if they know how. To plant a pine, for example, one need be neither god nor poet; one need only own a shovel. By virtue of this curious loophole in the rules, any clodhopper may say: Let there be a tree – and there will be one.

                                                —Press Release provided by Little Traverse Conservancy

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