COVID-19 gave us the opportunity to get creative with the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute’s regularly occurring Apostle Islands School. Because we couldn’t take students to the islands in the month of May, we created Stewards of Tomorrow instead.
In July and August of 2021, participants joined a small group of four peers for three nights and four days and connected with the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore through art, sea kayak, natural and cultural history, hiking, boating, and sailing. Youth participants came from Ashland, Iron River, Madison, Mellen, Oconomowoc, Odanah, Red Cliff, and Washburn, Wisconsin, and St. Paul, Minnesota. For many participants, they experienced their ‘backyard’ in new and inspiring ways. For others, it was breathtaking, inspiring, and life changing.
At the end of the program, all participants were asked to create a piece of art—a stewardship flag—to share a message and visual story about was most important to them as they considered the future of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. The flags were displayed as an exhibition at the Washburn Cultural Center in Washburn, Wisconsin. Now you can display them!
Participants were informed their flags would be on display in the area and then sold as a fundraiser, and all participants were given the option to keep their flags before selling them. All donations from the silent auction will support the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute’s future youth programs.
The Stewards of Tomorrow program was successful due to the help of Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Lost Creek Adventures, Lake Superior Tall Ships, SPARK, Bad River Youth Programs, Red Cliff Family and Human Services, April Stone, Axel Peterman, and PMG Charters. A more traditional Apostle Islands School is being planned for 2023.