Beaming With Pride: Great Lakes Bioneers
Beaming With Pride: Great Lakes Bioneers | Travers City, MI
Obviously living in the midst of 1/5 of the world's freshwater reserves makes a dramatic impact on our landscapes, our ecology and our focus, here in Travers City.
"Blue gold" is destined to be one of the leading [and unfortunately contentious] issues in global politics and we are dealing with the ramifications and implications of this every day - from invasive species to water diversion. Our work happens within this context.
Bob Russell and Sally Van Vleck, co-directors of the Neahtawanta Research and Education Center, had attended several Bioneers Conferences in California, and reported back enthusiastically to the local community about the relevance and positive approach of the conference.
A meeting to explore becoming a satellite site in January of 2002 attracted over 20 people who were eager to help with the conference, including two of the founders of the young nonprofit, SEEDS. This group continued to meet and hosted the first Great Lakes Bioneers Conference for 250 people.
There was no question whether we should to do it again in 2003, or in any year since. Each year we have expanded and refined our programming, packing as much as we can into one small weekend in October.
Participants have told us that the satellite conference is every bit as satisfying as the national experience. The connection to the thousands of other Bioneers during the plenary sessions is palpable and moving.
Some have said that they liked Great Lakes Bioneers better than the national conference because of its smaller size and more personal scale. One participant wrote on her evaluation: “The conference came only four days after I rolled into town, with my moving van full, from Colorado. I’ve lived in the Rockies for 23 years and have returned home to family, forests, water, and now even a beautifully progressive community. Having Bioneers ‘waiting for me’ was like the Universe’s way of handing me over to my new community. Thanks!” Part of what I really appreciate about Bioneers is that it gives our community a common language to communicate with – the word itself is made up – and it’s a language steeped in strengthening hope and lessening despair. This makes it easier to recognize other like-minded souls and also to articulate rather complex concepts. We are inventing new paradigms, and that is the revolution.
Local keynote speakers that will be presenting at this year’s Travers City, MI Beaming Bioneers:
J. Carl Ganter
Ganter is journalist and photojournalist who has been published in most major international magazines. He serves on the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars water working group, "Navigating Peace" in Washington. He will address the challenges of engaging the public on critical global freshwater issues.
Burda is the founding president of Maggie's Organics, a 13 year old ecologically and socially responsible organic cloting business based in Ypsilanti, MI. In 1999 she helped organize and partnered with a Nicaraguan women-owned sewing cooperative, Maquiladora Mujeres which now employs over 150 people.
Botts has been an activist for over three decades focusing mainly on Great Lakes issues. She is a founding member of the Quality of Life Council, the Lake Michigan Federation, and the Indiana Dunes Environmental Learning Center.