LSSI News & Events


Connect + Communicate + Celebrate = Activate: Celebrate the U.P. 2021!

Sponsored by the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition

March 19—21 Free, Online, Open to the Public

Celebrate the U.P.!, the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition’s annual celebration of everything that makes the U.P. a special place to live and visit, will be held virtually March 19—21. This year’s event offers an engaging mix of environment-themed performance, educational presentations and online sharing. The performers and speakers come from wide-ranging locations, but they all intersect with this place we call the U.P.: what they will bring will be as varied as salamanders from Presque Isle Park, songs from the imagination of Michael Waite, or words from Jes Thompson addressing the subtleties of our connection to this place.


The celebration begins Friday, March 19 (5:00—9:00 pm EDT). Following UPEC’s annual membership meeting, there will be an online Show +Tell. You will be invited to join the livestream and show an object that connects you to the U.P.–a piece of driftwood, an old photo, anything that’s meaningful to you–and share your story.

Signature Cocktails + Yooper Brews

The Delft Bistro in Marquette is developing two special cocktails for our event this year–full details on UPEC’s website, including recipes. The Delft will also be screening a modified (printed scrolling words, music, photos) version of the poetry reading, followed by the Michael Waite concert, on their big movie screen. Blackrocks Brewery is introducing Float Copper, a limited edition copper lager, as Celebrate the U.P.’s featured brew.

Poems + Songs of Belonging

The evening features a poetry reading (7:00 pm EDT) by Keith Taylor, a retired University of Michigan poet whose latest book is set in the U.P., Let Them Be Left: Isle Royale Poems (2021), followed by a livestream concert from local singer-songwriter Michael Waite.


Saturday afternoon (12:45—4:00 pm EDT), March 20, will begin with a Keynote address by NMU professor Jes Thompson, who recently edited the award-winning book, America’s Largest Classroom: What We Learn from Our National Parks. Thompson’s presentation will focus on how public lands connect us with nature. The afternoon will be rounded out by a talk by research biologist Al Manville on using parks and public lands as living laboratories for teaching, followed by a panel on Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge, featuring Aimee Cree Dunn, Charlie Otto Rasmussen, and Aaron Payment.


Sunday’s program on March 21 (12:45—4:00 pm EDT) is a rich offering of challenges in environmental activism and research opportunities for both specialists and citizens. One panel discussion looks at building a coalition of activists to save the Menominee River from a proposed mine, and the decades-long effort to protect the Menominee Tribe’s cultural resources. A second panel provides an update on growing opposition to a proposed spaceport along the Lake Superior shoreline north of Marquette. Parallel to these activist sessions, there will be presentations by two researchers, NMU student Eli Bieri and senior researcher Stan Temple, on protecting salamanders and sandhill cranes, both iconic U.P. species. The day’s final event is a panel discussion with a trio of citizen scientists–Karen Bacula, Joe Youngman and Andrea Denham–discussing Moosewatch, the Christmas Bird Count, and the U.P. Land Conservancy’s use of iNaturalist to document species on their properties. Learn how everyday citizens can contribute to important environmental research projects!

All activities are free, open to the public, and livestreamed on Facebook at CLICK HERE

For detailed information, speaker bios, a complete schedule, visit UPEC’s website: CLICK HERE

UPEC MISSION STATEMENT: Since 1976, “Preserving and enhancing the Upper Peninsula’s unique cultural and natural resources in order to secure a resilient and secure future for coming generations.”

Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition
P.O. Box 673
Houghton, MI 49931-0673 USA