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Garden Blessing: Lawn now native plants garden at Marquette, MI Lutheran Campus Ministry

An interfaith "Blessing of the Garden" ceremony was held recently at Northern Michigan University Lutheran Campus Ministry house in Marquette, Michigan where the lawn has been converted to eco-friendly. Stones from three of the Great Lakes and a solar fountain are part of the Lutheran Campus Ministry (LCM) native plants garden that encircles the house. Prayers, incense, bells, and a tour of the garden were all part of the blessing ceremony by Lutheran Pastor Rev. Jon Magnuson, LCM director and co-founder of Earth Keeper Initiative; and Rev. Tesshin Paul Lehmberg, head priest of Lake Superior Zendo in Marquette - a Zen Buddhist Temple - and an NMU English professor NMU Student Michael Rotter, who created the LCM native plants garden, gave a tour to those attending the blessing. A rainstorm stopped just long enough to hold the ceremony for those present to walk around the LCM house twice - once during a prayer walk followed by the guided tour.
Blessing by Lutheran Rev. Jon Magnuson, Zen Buddhist Rev. Tesshin Paul Lehmberg
Blessing by Lutheran Rev. Jon Magnuson, Zen Buddhist Rev. Tesshin Paul Lehmberg
Zen Buddhist Rev. Tesshin Paul Lehmberg, student Michael Rotter lead prayer walk
Zen Buddhist Rev. Tesshin Paul Lehmberg, student Michael Rotter lead prayer walk
A prayer walk was lead around the Lutheran Campus Ministry home for blessing
A prayer walk was lead around the Lutheran Campus Ministry home for blessing
Zen Buddhist Rev. Tesshin Paul Lehmberg, Lake Superior Zendo Head Priest
Zen Buddhist Rev. Tesshin Paul Lehmberg, Lake Superior Zendo Head Priest
Straw covers new native plants garden for harsh Michigan winter protection
Straw covers new native plants garden for harsh Michigan winter protection
Prayers, incense, bells, and a tour of the garden were all part of the blessing
Prayers, incense, bells, and a tour of the garden were all part of the blessing
Chants, prayers and bells marked the ceremony at the LCM front door near NMU
Chants, prayers and bells marked the ceremony at the LCM front door near NMU
All-day rainstorm stopped briefly for the 20 minute blessing then rain resumed
All-day rainstorm stopped briefly for the 20 minute blessing then rain resumed
Northern Michigan's famous fall colors framed the Marquette Garden Blessing
Northern Michigan's famous fall colors framed the Marquette Garden Blessing
There were hugs all around wqhen the blessing and tour ended in Marquette, Mich
There were hugs all around wqhen the blessing and tour ended in Marquette, Mich
Participant hugs LCM director Rev. Jon Magnuson during Oct. 2007 event
Participant hugs LCM director Rev. Jon Magnuson during Oct. 2007 event
The group stands next to a fountain that will be converted to solar next spring
The group stands next to a fountain that will be converted to solar next spring
Northern Michigan University student Michael Rotter is native plants expert
Northern Michigan University student Michael Rotter is native plants expert
Lutheran Campus Ministry student Sarah Swanson & NMU sophomore tapes event
Lutheran Campus Ministry student Sarah Swanson & NMU sophomore tapes event
NMU student Michael Rotter explains the plants that will bloom in summer 2008
NMU student Michael Rotter explains the plants that will bloom in summer 2008
The straw will give way to beautiful plants, flowers and bushes in spring 2008
The straw will give way to beautiful plants, flowers and bushes in spring 2008
Organizers of the native plants garden hope neighbors folllow lawn example
Organizers of the native plants garden hope neighbors folllow lawn example
Stones from 3 Great Lakes, pebbles, Lake Superior water all have meanings.
Stones from 3 Great Lakes, pebbles, Lake Superior water all have meanings.
LCM home named Lothlorien after magical kingdom that Tolkien called Middle-earth
LCM home named Lothlorien after magical kingdom that Tolkien called Middle-earth
Garden has rocks from the Lake Superior watershed plus three  Great Lakes
Garden has rocks from the Lake Superior watershed plus three Great Lakes
Garden has large stones from Great Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron
Garden has large stones from Great Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron
Garden includes Black Eye Susan and aster, dogbane, bluestem, and Sensitive fern
Garden includes Black Eye Susan and aster, dogbane, bluestem, and Sensitive fern
Garden: No watering  or fertilizers, haven for birds, other animals, insects
Garden: No watering or fertilizers, haven for birds, other animals, insects
Garden solar fountain with Lake Superior water represents  waters of our baptism
Garden solar fountain with Lake Superior water represents waters of our baptism
Garden pebbles represent the different worlds of the Upper Peninsula residents
Garden pebbles represent the different worlds of the Upper Peninsula residents
LCM Dir. Lutheran Rev. Jon Magnuson, Zen Buddhist Rev. Tesshin Paul Lehmberg
LCM Dir. Lutheran Rev. Jon Magnuson, Zen Buddhist Rev. Tesshin Paul Lehmberg
LCM students hope neighbors will enjoy the beauty of the native plants garden
LCM students hope neighbors will enjoy the beauty of the native plants garden
Michael Rotter: The Zen garden represents our interconnected lives in nature
Michael Rotter: The Zen garden represents our interconnected lives in nature
Garden is powerful symbol of the future of people living in the environment
Garden is powerful symbol of the future of people living in the environment
Native plants are important parts of the ecosystem
Native plants are important parts of the ecosystem

Students convert Lutheran Campus Ministry lawn into eco-friendly Native Plants Garden

Rainstorm ends for Blessing of the Garden ceremony

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(Marquette, Michigan) - A "Blessing of the Garden" ceremony was held recently at Lothlorien - the Northern Michigan University Lutheran Campus Ministry house near Lake Superior.

Performing the ceremony was Rev. Jon Magnuson, director of Lutheran Campus Ministry (LCM) at Northern Michigan University (NMU) in Marquette, MI; and Rev. Tesshin Paul Lehmberg, head priest of Lake Superior Zendo, a Marquette Zen Buddhist temple.

The Lothlorien lawn has been turned into a native plants garden that includes rocks from three of the Great lakes and a solar fountain.

A heavy rain poured the entire day almost causing the ceremony to be moved inside, but the sun came out for 20 minutes and the rain resumed just as the blessing and a tour were completed.

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The LCM house name, Lothlorien, comes from Lords of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien.

The garden includes numerous different plants from Michigan and others from the Boreal border regions of the northern United States including Black Eye Susan and aster, dogbane, bluestem, and Sensitive fern.

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Prayers, incense, bells, and chants were part of the ceremony that included a tour of the garden by NMU Student Michael Joko Rotter, who is a member of Lake Superior Zendo.

"Lothlorien is a magical kingdom part of what Tolkien called Middle-earth - where time passes differently," said Rev. Jon Magnuson, a Lutheran pastor, who founded the NMU EarthKeeper Student Team. Many of the campus ministry students belong to the interfaith NMU EK Student Team.

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"One of the first images of the Old Testament around the beauty of God's creation is a garden," Rev. Magnuson said.

"Our natural native plants landscaping - our Lothlorien garden - is a sign of a new way of living with the world," Magnuson said. "It honors the indigenous and native plants of our region."

The garden and the name of the LCM house reflect the way the students feel about nature.

"Lothlorien came into being first as a song," Rev. Magnuson said. "The garden will need little - if no artificial watering - no fertilizers and will be a haven for birds and other small creatures."

"There is going to be a solar fountain - the fountain represents the water of Lake Superior and the waters of our baptism," Magnuson said.

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A fountain in the garden is going to be converted to solar power in the spring of 2008 and the sun will charge a battery allowing the water to flow in cloudy weather.

"In the back of the house there are rocks from the Lake Superior watershed," Rev. Magnuson said. "The pebbles represent the different worlds of the individuals who make up the region - and the people in the Great Lakes basin," Magnuson said.

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Rotter, who manages the garden, said the students hope neighbors will enjoy the beauty of the native plants and use it as an example for their lawns.

"We hope this will allow people to learn about the amazing diversity of out native plant communities and inspire people to learn the benefits that native plants have, such as requiring a third less water, and no pesticides or fertilizers," said Rotter, a Zen Buddhist member of the NMU EK Student Team.

"The Zen garden represents our interconnected lives in nature,: Rotter said. "The stones from each of the great lake watersheds represent the flow of water, the substance that gives us life, and shows us how all of us are 'downstream' and depend on our connection to the earth for life."

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Rotter said the "garden represents the hope of the future."

"It's a powerful symbol of the future of people living in the environment," Rotter said. "Hopefully as the garden grows the area near the house will help us return to our original nature and realize the dynamics of nature and the role we play."

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"Native plants are important parts of the ecosystem but because we have introduced new horticulture and many different types of plants, and sprayed our lawns with chemicals and destroyed areas with lawn mowers - we have lost our sense of being part of nature," Rotter explained.

The October 5, 2007 blessing happened a couple hours after Rotter received the bad news about the nearby five-acre Native Plants Project that he manages on campus with other students.

NMU planners are proposing that the four-year-old Outdoor Classroom and Native Plants Research Area be uprooted to build dorms, however the university president says final decisions have not been made.

homepage: homepage: http://www.lakesuperiorinterfaith.com
phone: phone: 906-475-5068
address: address: 403 E. Michigan St., Marquette, MI 49855