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#GivingTuesday can aid local conservation effort

Staff and volunteers with the Upper Peninsula Land Conservancy work at the Chocolay Bayou Preserve in Chocolay Township.

MARQUETTE — Mark Nov. 28 on your calendars.

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration.

Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when the focus is on the holidays and end-of-year giving.

Local organizations are tapping into the special day, including those focused on the outdoors.

The Upper Peninsula Land Conservancy, based in Harvey, is asking the community to adopt at least one acre of conservation land in the U.P. as part of #GivingTuesday. 

On that day, the UPLC wants to protect at least 100 acres of land for 2018.

That protection isn’t free. It costs the UPLC approximately $20 per acre of land per year to protect more than 6,000 acres of land across eight counties throughout the U.P.

For any individual adopting an acre or more of conservation land with the UPLC on #GivingTuesday, staff will drop a pin with GPS coordinates and put that person’s name, or the name of an honored individual if acres are adopted as gifts, on a special map.

Each donor will receive a certificate naming him or her, or the loved one, as “The Protector of the Land,” and staff will locate that land with GPS coordinates. If a person adopts more than 40 acres on #GivingTuesday, staff will take “you and yours,” according to the UPLC, on a hike to the GPS coordinates in the summer to show the exact location and give an introduction to the trees, mosses and wildlife there.

Staff will update the interactive map at www.uplandconservancy. org/interactive-map throughout #GivingTuesday, posting about it on social media. Certificates will be sent well in advance of the holidays.

“Whether or not you own your own land, living in the U.P. means caring about the land that you interact with on a daily basis,” said UPLC Assistant Director Andrea Denham in an email. “Conserved land is important for its intrinsic values and for beauty, sure.

“It’s also important for recreation of all types in all seasons, keeping our lakes and waters and air clean, and maintaining our way of life and our economy. Adopting an acre, or a dozen, with UPLC on #GivingTuesday is an easy way to ensure that the things you find important about living here are protected for another year.”

UPLC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit environmental organization that seeks to protect “Land Today for Life Tomorrow” by way of conservation easements on private land, restoration-focused timber management and nature preserves throughout the U.P.

For more information, visit www.uplandconservancy.org.

MooseWood Nature Center, located on Presque Isle, is another environment-related charity participating in #GivingTuesday.

The center is home to animals like turtles, frogs and snakes, with many conservation and nature-related programs presented during the year.

The link to the donation page is http://moosewood.org/support, with donors now being able to give online using MooseWood’s secure PayPal account.

As a bonus, MooseWood announced an anonymous donor will match dollar per dollar, up to a maximum of $500, on all donations received on #GivingTuesday.

There are “non-outdoorsy” ways to contribute Tuesday.

For instance, Northern Michigan University will participate in #GivingTuesday.

The NMU Foundation encourages faculty, staff, alumni and community members who have been positively impacted by Northern to consider making a financial gift. All funds will support students through enhanced learning, research, scholarship, travel opportunities and more.

NMU students also have an opportunity to participate in #GivingTuesday by contributing non-perishable items to the campus food pantry, an initiative of ASNMU student government.

Financial gifts to the NMU Foundation can be made online before or on Tuesday at nmu.edu/give. There will be an opportunity to track the progress of #GivingTuesday on NMU social media throughout the day.

For more information, contact Andy Hill, assistant director of annual giving, at 906-227-2531 or anhill@nmu.edu.

Local Thrivent Financial members may join the #GivingTuesday movement as well. The East Wisconsin-Upper Michigan Region Thrivent Member Network pledges to match qualifying personal donations up to $10,000 made to the Messiah Lutheran Church Community Assistance Program on #GivingTuesday.

The program, which takes place at the church at 305 W. Magnetic St., Marquette, will host a day of food, give-a-ways, entertainment, door prizes and other fun activities from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Thrivent will match qualifying personal donations made online or onsite, up to $10,000 or 11:59 p.m., whichever comes first.

More details about how to volunteer, donate, and participate can be found at https://connect.thrivent.com/east-wi-upper-mi-tmn/ or www.messiahlutheranmqt.org.

For more information on the #GivingTuesday movement and to find other local organizations involved in the effort, visit www.givingtuesday.org.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net.