Sierra Club Michigan Chapter Retreat update / August 26 – 28, 2016

Hello Sierra Club members and readers,

On Friday, August 26,  I had planned on camping a short distance from home to Fort Loramie Ohio for a quiet weekend in the woods. I packed a hiking backpack, a cooler, a grill and set off for the one hour drive. With a full tank of gas, I considered my calandar. My invitation to the Michigan Chapter retreat was posting to my “To Do List”. I quickly changed my plans and drove the additional four and one half hours to Stony Lake Michigan and stopped there at Camp Miniwanca.

Once at the retreat site, I registered and set up a quick overnight camp before bicycling to the Council Circle for a bonfire, marshmallows and fire side foods. I met Jordan Simpson and Dani Slagg who posed for a photo at the Council Circle. The night was filled with song and story telling. Story gave way to knowledge; I learned that Indian dream catchers originate from this area of the USA.

The next morning was met with raindrops and a peaceful morning of gentle rain over campside coffee. As I made my bike ride to breakfast, many Michiganders ate and told stories to me of travels to Camp Miniwanca. After breakfast, some walked as I rode along to an Activity Center and watched as Sierra Club members participated in rock climbing and rope ladder climbing simulations. Many scaled heights over 30 feet to walk tightropes and swing from high above the wood floor. As we left for camp, I rode my bicycle ahead of the hikers and photographed Stony Lake and Lake Michigan in the overcast and damp summer air.

Not long thereafter was a lunch break. The rain ended and we dried out from the drizzle. After a hot cup of coffee, I sat in on a political update from Mike Berkowitz, Legislative and Political Director for the Michigan Chapter. He detailed some work on anti plastic legislation and energy initiatives while answering questions. Much of Mike’s presentation focused on political races in the Michigan legislature and changes due to gerrymandering. His Q and A session was most intriguing and I felt well educated on reasons why the Sierra Club endorsed some of the candidates in the races Mike mentioned.

After the politic and environmental presentation, I left Camp Miniwanca. I packed up my truck on Saturday afternoon and headed south for Ohio. My camping and connection with nature wasn’t over. I stayed the night at St. Mary’s State Park in Auglaize County. The night sky was very clear and constellations covered the darkness. Quiet time added to a nice weekend of good company, environmental information from the Wolverines up north and rainy bicycle trails that gave way to a sunny Sunday morning at St. Mary’s State Park. I was offered a free kayak on the algea covered lake and after a half hour paddling on the lake, I pulled myself out, packed up the truck and made for home. The weekend was complete. My picture gallery is filled with fond memories and the people I met were most kind. I think that NCAA football at the Michigan campsite still has my footprint on it though….

Scott Bushbaum – Sierra Club Miami Group ExCom