ISD 166 students participate in collaborative field trip with Gitchi Gami Trail Association
Michelle Pierson

ISD 166 students participate in collaborative field trip with Gitchi Gami Trail Association

Numerous students at ISD 166 took to the Gitchi Gami State Trail for an active and educational field trip on May 11. The students biked from the school to Cut Face Creek Wayside Rest to help plant native seeds along the Gitchi Gami State Trail.

Following the dry conditions during the summer of 2021, most of the trees and planting done in conjunction with the state trail construction did not survive. In addition, the spring flooding in May 2022 did not help the situation.

“We noticed there is a need to replant some native seeds in that corridor,” Michelle Pierson, the executive director of the Gitchi Gami Trail Association, said.

The Gitchi Gami Trail Association (GGTA) received a habitat restoration grant from the Parks and Trails Council of Minnesota to restore habitat along the trail between Grand Marais and Cut Face Creek Wayside Rest.

To help replant the native seeds, the GGTA sought the help of students at ISD 166.

The field trip evolved into a collaborative partnership between numerous state and county agencies, the GGTA, and the school. GGTA partnered with Cook County Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) to provide a bicycle fleet to the public school for the students to use. In addition, DNR Forestry and Minnesota Conservation Corps staff participated in the field trip.

“This field trip wove together bicycle safety, trail etiquette, youth engagement, occupational outreach on potential career opportunities, information about erosion, climate, native vegetation, a look at invasive species, and so much more,” Pierson said. “It was an incredible showcase of multi-organizational partnership.”

The Minnesota DNR provided rakes, buckets, gloves, eye protection, and fruit snacks for the students. Two ISD 166 teachers, Mike Theismann, and Marlene Zimmer, also participated in the field trip.

“Huge kudos to Mr. Theismann and Ms. Zimmer from ISD #166 for this great event,” Pierson said. “What a great opportunity to engage students with this great amenity in their community and to develop trail stewards!”

Photos by Michelle Pierson and Bob Nesheim from the field trip are below: