A Special Night for Volunteers

Of course we are going to tell you that Dahlem is a special place, but what you may not hear enough is that a great deal of what makes this place so special is the people who dedicate countless hours of their time to volunteer here.

In over twenty years of work in this field, I have only encountered a volunteer corps as dedicated as ours at one other facility.  In other words, our volunteers are largely responsible for the success of this place and we simply couldn’t do all that we do without them.

And how do you thank those who are so selfless and who blush at praise?  By throwing them a party!

This year The Dahlem Conservancy’s Volunteer Recognition Evening had a native theme.  It started off with some truly AMAZING foods catered by our good friends at The Chocolate Moose.  When we told them we wanted foods based on Native American Cuisine, I’m sure a lot of eyebrows rose.  But they came through with some of the best food many of us have tasted.  There was venison, pheasant, and bread made with cranberries.  One of the surprise hits was freeze-dried corn (to quote one diner:  it is “the bomb”)!

These little beauties were a combination of squash and sweet potato.  I think there must’ve been a dash of maple syrup in them as well.

People went back for seconds and thirds…there were very few leftovers.

The highlight of the evening, however, was our guest speaker:  Mukwa La Femme (Bear Woman), as portrayed by Lynn Johnson of Project Lakewell.

Lynn has carefully researched the life of Bear Woman, who in the 1700s was the richest woman in Michigan.  Born to a French trader who married a native woman, when Bear Woman was widowed at the age of 23 she took over her husband’s trading business and soon became quite wealthy.

Lynn’s stories about the lives of Michigan’s native peoples held our audience in rapt attention.  And when we had to cut things short because a line of severe storms was rolling into town, people still stuck around to ask questions and grab a few more bites of delicious food.

We hope everyone had a good time and got home safely.  Many thanks to Lynn and the folks from the Chocolate Moose for making this night memorable for our volunteers.

And many thanks to all our volunteers for making Dahlem a success.

If you’d like to join our volunteers, tomorrow (5/5/12) is a perfect opportunity!  From 9 AM until 3 PM we are having our Annual Work Bee.  We have all sorts of “spring cleaning” chores to do, from mucking out the ponds and pulling garlic mustard, to washing sap buckets and painting benches.  There’s something for everyone and all hands are welcome.  Food is provided by The Friends of Dahlem, our tireless team of volunteers who help feed and take care of the rest of us!  We hope to see you there.

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About Dahlem Center

The Dahlem Center is a non-profit nature center/environmental education center located on almost 300 acres just south of the city of Jackson, Michigan. The Center is one arm of the Dahlem Conservancy, which includes land conservancy and stewardship in its mission.
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