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Mallard Island Summer of 2017

(All quotes are from hosts.)

Opening Days:  The summer will begin in the third week of May with fasting and shared intention to honor the island and our medicine drum: Minisinaanakwadook.  Dennis (Pebaamibines) Jones and Peggy Anne Smith leading, and with ceremony likely on Saturday, 5-27-17.    Caretakers include Nance Kunkel and Beth Waterhouse.

May 28-June 3: First Work Week – The Big House needs siding repair; the Bird House needs under-girding beams, and the whole island will need cleaning and opening work.  We are grateful to volunteers who come to help during this first week of the 2017 season.   Caretakers include Beth Waterhouse and Mairi Doerr.  

June 4-10: Gardening / Work Week – The gardens are looking good after the 2014 flood, but there are still several spaces that need help, re-organizing or fresh soil.  And the group has clear intentions about native species and reducing invasives.    Caretakers: Prudence Johnson and Mark Granlund. 

June 11-17: “Artists in These Times” – hosted by Mayme Donsker. The group hopes to create a space to “get back to center” in response to current political, social and environmental changes that are weighing heavily on our hearts and minds.  This group travels in from all over the nation and brings a range of disciplines: writer, animator, designer, architect, painter, musician, and performing artist.  Caretakers:  Prudence Johnson and Barb Draper.

June 18-24: Archives Week – A group of volunteers come with their love of books and maps to address the needs of the island-held archives.  They hope to complete a three-year protocol on the care of Ober’s library and to improve the indexing of the maps.   Caretakers: Beth Waterhouse and Paula DeMars.

June 25 to July 1: Landscape Architecture –hosted by David Driapsa. Working to document our historic island, they carefully continue in this second season to refine maps and drawings and to construct the timeline of Oberholtzer’s creation of “The Mallard,” his masterful work of landscape architecture.
Caretakers: Diane Tessari and Jennie Ross.

July 2-8: REST WEEK ONE – annual tree work and continued woodstove maintenance on Mallard Island.  Caretakers:  Elaine and Steve Thrune.

July 9-15: Anishinaabe Week -  Following the initiative of having more First Nation involvement from nearby on Rainy Lake, this group will again invite fellow Anishinaabeg to consider and examine the commitment that Ober made to his First Nation friends.  Hosted by Pebaamibines (Dennis) Jones and Laura Pawlacyk.  Caretakers: Beth Waterhouse and Don Maronde.

July 16-22:  Nature/Nurture Women Poets  -- A small group of women, convening on Mallard Island, can open up a safe space of connection, acceptance, inspiration and poetry.  Hosted by Katie Rauk and Brett Elizabeth Jenkins.
Caretakers: Mary Swalla Holmes and Mary Casanova.

July 23-29:  “Centering through the Earth and the Arts” hosted by Marianne Joy Zarzana.  This week pulls together professors of science with artists and art educators and folks across the disciplines to connect with the physical aspects of life on a far north island. In small ways, it re-creates Ober’s idea of a “university of the wilderness.”    Caretakers: Mairi Doerr and Mary Swalla Holmes.

July 30-Aug 5: “Turning the Pages of History” hosted by Kathryn Kysar.  Mallard Island is a text, the land, water, rocks and plants a map of the island’s history.  Scholars and artists who are revising, rewriting or examining history gather to gain new understanding of the land and its people with a focus on indigenous knowledge.  Caretakers:  Mairi Doerr and Daniel Laurence Andersen.

August 6-12: Nanaandawi’iwe Nagamo  Guided by Ojibwe traditions with plants, the group will continue its studies—listening to the voices of the plant world.  Our relationship with the plant kingdom is crucial to our understanding of health (plant and animal) and of each other.  Caretakers: Mairi Doerr and Jennie Ross. 

August 13-19: REST WEEK TWO – ecological rest time.  Caretakers:  Jim Fitzpatrick and ________. 

August 20-26: Calling the Muse for the Care of the Earth – hosted by Barbara Draper.  The backdrop of this week is the over-riding and massive issue of climate change.  At its front and center: learning another way to be. The group will seek ways to open to full conversations about the Earth, our connection to it and our love for it.  Caretakers:  Prudence Johnson and Jane Lund.   

August 27-Sept 2: Songwriters - This musical week is always rich with learning and co-creation.  The group is free to compose, practice, read, collaborate and jam on into the evening hours.  Sessions lead to great surprises, mystery and beauty.  Hosted by Barbara McAfee.  Caretakers:  Prudence Johnson and Kim Knutson.

September 3-9: Individual Artists / Special Projects Week – offered by the Oberholtzer Foundation—each year a different group of artists, with different disciplines and intentions.  Together, their creating becomes “magic” as time on Mallard Island often can.  Caretakers:  Beth Waterhouse and Danielle Sosin.
September – 2nd full week - Dates held for possible Forestry Week.  Since we do not allow the rejuvenation with forest fires here, it is our responsibility to main-tain and regularly thin the forest ecosystems.  Forestry week will ID invasive species and maintain trees on Gull, Hawk and Crow. Caretakers:  Elaine and Steve Thrune.

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Note:  All but the three work weeks and the final Individual Artists Week are hosted by individuals who are doing their own recruiting for the Mallard Island program week. 


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

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