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2021 Celebrate the U.P. !— What’s so special about this place where we live???
An Introduction by Your 2021 Celebrate Team


  • Celebrate the U.P.! events Friday, March 19 | Saturday, March 20 | Sunday, March 21 •  all events are virtual, free, and open to the public • watch live

  • Want to participate directly in sessions? Read on for how!

  • Sneak preview this Friday, March 12, 7pm ET • more info below


The 2021 Celebrate the U.P.! will be held virtually using Zoom during March 19–21. The speakers will be coming from all over, but they will all intersect with this place we call the U.P. And what they will bring to us will be as varied as salamanders from Presque Isle Park, or songs from the imagination of Michael Waite, or words from our keynoter Jessica Thompson on the subtleties of our connection to this place. And it is all free and accessible to the public.


All 2021 Celebrate the U.P.! events will be streamed live on Facebook at


Celebrations are always social affairs, and we want the 2021 Celebrate the U.P.! to be an interactive online experience. If you opt to watch the Facebook livestream, you’ll be able to use the comment function to text questions and comments to the presenters.  But if you are looking for more, you are welcome to take part in the livestream directly by registering as a Zoom participant through the links below.  Once you register, you'll receive an email with instructions on how to join.


Fri, Mar 19 05:00 PM

Connect: 2021 Celebrate the U.P.!

Register for Zoom:


Friday evening (5:00–9:00), March 19, will be the chance for all of us to participate. There will be an Annual General Membership meeting. Then, in a wide-open Show and Tell, we are all invited to bring an object that connects us to the U.P.—natural as a mineral or piece of driftwood, cultural as an old photo or tool—and expound on what it means to us. The social evening will be filled out with music from Michael Waite and poetry from Keith Taylor. Keith is a retired University of Michigan poet whose latest book is set in the U.P., Let Them Be Left: Isle Royale Poems (2021).

Signature cocktails, mocktails, and Yooper brews. The Delft Bistro in Marquette is developing a special cocktail for our event this year.  They will also be streaming this event on their big screen. Blackrocks Brewery is introducing Float Copper, a limited edition copper lager, as Celebrate’s featured brew. In addition, we are working with other Marquette establishments to create an alcohol-free mocktail. Photos, recipes, and more info below


Sat, Mar 20 12:45 PM

Communicate: 2021 Celebrate the U.P.!

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Saturday afternoon (12:45–4:00), March 20, will begin with our Keynoter, Jes Thompson, whose theme explores how we communicate our connectedness to place. Thompson is a professor of business and communication at Northern Michigan University (NMU) who recently edited an award-winning book, America’s Largest Classroom: What We Learn from Our National Parks(2020). Her talk will span the public lands part of our connection with nature, from Pictured Rocks to Isle Royale, from wildlife refuges to national forests, to all the varied places that create habitat for our plants and animals, including ourselves.

The afternoon will be shared with a research biologist, Al Manville, whose career has led him from national parks out West, to a national monument in Maine, to Alaska’s Tongass temperate rainforest. He will share insights from teaching and research in regions that are often viewed as setting the standard for the USA’s natural wonders. How is the U.P. similar and different are questions that will run through our minds.

A panel on Native American knowledge of place will close out Saturday afternoon. The focus is on the treasures that are being unearthed from the indigenous traditions that were long neglected. Known as Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), how do these traditions enrich or alter a scientific viewpoint? The speakers include  Aimee Cree Dunn, unaffiliated metis (mixed-blood), who has taught Indigenous environmental studies at Northern Michigan University's Center for Native American Studies for over 15 years; Charlie Otto Rasmussen, the editor of Mazina’igan: A Chronicle of the Lake Superior Ojibwe, a publication that for decades has focused on culture, science, and Native American treaty rights; and Aaron Payment, the chairperson of the Sault Ste Marie tribe of Chippewa Indians.


Sun, Mar 21 12:45 PM • Breakout Session 1

Activate: 2021 Celebrate the U.P.!

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The Sunday program on March 21 (12:45–4:00) is a rich offering of challenges in environmental activism and research opportunities for both specialists and citizens. One panel looks at what’s involved in creating a coalition of activists to save a river from a nearby proposed mine that would also be damaging to indigenous cultural resources. This is the Back Forty proposed mine on the Menominee River that UPEC’s own Mining Action Group has been fighting for years, with some success. A second issue is the proposed spaceport along the Lake Superior shoreline about ten miles north of Marquette. This initiative has attracted a large following of concerned citizens and led to the founding of a new group. Learn how you can become engaged.


Sun, Mar 21 12:45 PM • Breakout Session 2

Celebrate: 2021 Celebrate the U.P.!

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Parallel to these two activist sessions are two researchers, one at the beginning of his career and one with many years of experience. The first is an NMU student, Eli Bieri, who succeeded in reversing the roadkill of hundreds of blue spotted salamanders during their spring migration at Presque Isle Park in Marquette. The senior researcher, Stan Temple, is a conservation biologist now retired from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He poses the intriguing question “What have we done to deserve all these (sandhill) cranes?” The crane story is another illustration that human attitudes and actions can make a difference.


The final event on Sunday is a trio of citizen scientists, who are all contributing their bit to our knowledge of plants and animals in the field. Karen Bacula has participated for nine years as a leader in the Moosewatch program at Isle Royale National Park. Joe Youngman is a passionate birder known for numerous bird counting programs on and around the Keweenaw Peninsula for over 20 years. Andrea Denham is the Executive Director of the Upper Peninsula Land Conservancy and well-versed in electronic devices that are designed to help citizen naturalists in field studies.


Open discussion Friday and Saturday. During the event, join to talk to other UPEC members about the event or anything at all.

Meeting ID: 831 1343 8020 Passcode: 2021


Plenty to see and do at the 2021 Celebrate the U.P.! Join us!  The complete schedule is below. You can also download the latest UPEC Newsletter, which includes the introductory article above and the schedule.


Signature cocktails, mocktails, and Yooper brews. The Delft Bistro in Marquette is developing a special cocktail for our event this year.  They will also be streaming this event on their big screen. Blackrocks Brewery is introducing Float Copper, a limited edition copper lager, as Celebrate’s featured brew. In addition, we are working with other Marquette establishments to create an alcohol-free mocktail. 


The Delft-created cocktails will be available at the restaurant but also in a to-go package to make at home.  The Delft will also be screening a modified (printed scrolling words, music, photos) version of the poetry reading, followed by the Michael Waite concert, on their big movie screen.  


Blackrocks Brewery has canned their Float Copper (a copper ale), which is for sale in many local stores, and will also have it on tap at the pub for enjoyment there or to take out in a growler.

People can place orders from either place online or by phone.

Kelsey Weeder, mixologist from the Delft, writes:

“We decided on TWO cocktails to hit a couple different styles. The first is something we played with infusions in the spirits, and the second is a little more accessible for people to make on their own. Both will be available at the Delft for dine-in or takeout orders!



1.5oz cardamom, orange, and peppercorn infused Gypsy vodka

.5oz Long Road Aquavit

.5oz favorite local honey

.5oz lemon juice


Salty Yooper

2 oz. Iron Fish Maple Bourbon

.25 oz your favorite U.P. maple syrup

dash orange bitters

pinch of Maldon sea salt

garnish with orange swath


We also feature Michigan brews on tap including Blackrocks 51K, Barrel + Beam Blanc du Nord, and Superior Culture Kombucha. We carry seasonal Blackrocks cans and Barrel+Beam bottles.”

Float Copper Lager


Salty Yooper

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