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Mallard Island Summer of 2018

“A Year of Reflection and Renewal”

Sensing that the time is right for some slowing and renewal, the Oberholtzer Foundation board of directors has declared this theme and interpreted it into a shorter, yet high quality, summer schedule for 2018. From a planning document: “In our years with Mallard Island, we have systematically shared Ober’s trails, gardens, landscapes and buildings. And we have carefully restricted the use or ‘borrowing’ of this tiny island to a dozen people at any given time, identifying that as the Island’s ecological carrying capacity. However, we have in recent years stretched the summer to about as long as is physically possible (ice to ice) and we have lived right up to and pushed against the limits of that human carrying capacity. ~ It is time for renewal.”

Here, then, is the basic outline of the Mallard Island summer of 2018.

May 29 to June 2: Opening days of Reflection – Fasting, and Indigenous Drum Ceremony as we open the season. Flexible to weather, schedules, and water system.

June 3-9: Land and Buildings Work Week – With a dual focus on both carpentry and gardens. Michael Reid, coordinator. The group will assess needed repair projects while others renew the island’s many garden spaces.

June 9: Spring Oberholtzer Foundation Board Meeting (Saturday)

June 10-16: Renewal Focus Group Week: – A mixed group of board members and non-board friends of the island will examine the various structural “systems” or messages that bring people to the island. We’ll open the week to options for dialogue with local community members.

June 17-23: Archives Week This year’s focus is on the Oberholtzer collections that include maps and photography. Intention is to improve the inventory and location systems for both.

June 24-30: Designated REST Week

July 8-14: “Artists in these Times” - A program week hosted by Mayme Donsker of Pasadena, California. Group will explore contemplative practices that affect themselves and their creativity, examining themes of equanimity, compassion, and interdependence.

July 15-21:  “Women Poets” - hosted by Katie Rauk and Brett Elizabeth Jenkins. The group settles deeply into the Nature and spaces of Mallard Island, declaring that the island encourages both solitude and communion. They all actively seek and write poetry during their island days.

July 22-28:  Designated REST Week

July 29 to August 4: “Turning the Pages of History”  hosted by Andrea Carlson who will bring together “artists and writers who are researching / revising history and turning its pages to a new, richer or more complete understanding of the land and its people.” Indigenous and non-native participants.

August 5-11: Island Caretakers’ Training Week coordinated by Beth Waterhouse and Mairi Doerr, long-time caretakers.

August 19-25: Designated REST Week 

August 26 to Sept 1: Individual Artists and Special Projects Week: – hosted by the Foundation to encourage the individual with either an artistic project coming out of their own body of work, or a special project that calls upon the island archives. Spaces are available, as of mid-January.

September 2-8: Board Visioning and Planning Days: - To evaluate the summer renewal focus and its impact on systems, messages, and the island itself. Also to look forward and revise the strategic planning goals for the next three years. Board and non-board members active in partial planning week.

September 9-10: Autumn Oberholtzer Board Meeting, 2 days.

~ ~ ~
Note:  * Rest Week times could flex. * Forestry week pending proposal. * Anishinaabe or Ojibwe Language Week, not yet formally scheduled.  


For more information, call Beth Waterhouse at (952) 401-0591 or email her at

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