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Forest Service renews partnership with College of Menominee Nation

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KESHENA, Wis. – The College of Menominee Nation and United States Forest Service signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding at a meeting Nov. 13, on the college’s Keshena campus. The agreement, which involves four divisions of USFS, extends a uniquely comprehensive partnership that has existed between the federal agency and the college since 2003.

Dr. Verna Fowler, college president, said “values shared by the people of our organizations and the importance of work we propose make the 2009 – 2015 agreement a commitment of special importance.” Fowler adds that the partnership enables professionals of the college and Forest Service to continue and extend exciting collaborations that have included research and community education and development work related to sustainable forest products.

The agreement pledges the college and USFS “to cooperate in synthesizing best practices of forest management, ecology, utilization and Native American expertise and applying this knowledge to sustainable forestry practices and sustainable development.” Work at the college will center largely in CMN’s Center for First Americans Forestlands but will have applications that are transferable to communities and organizations engaged in forest management and related issues nationwide.

High-level Forest Service delegates traveled to Keshena from Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania and Minnesota to join campus and tribal officials for the event. Federal units involved in the partnership with CMN are the Forest Products Laboratory in Madison and the USFS Northeastern Area, Northern Research Station and Eastern Region offices. The Forest Service is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Coordinating the signing ceremony are Michael Dockry of Shawano, the USFS liaison to the college, and Melissa Cook of Keshena, director of the CMN Sustainable Development Institute. The two say that stakeholders for this and the original Memorandum of Understanding include a wide variety of groups and individuals. Among them are American Indian tribes, forest and land managers, as well as communities with interest in forest management, products, harvest and utilization, and tribal colleges and universities, and members of the broader community.

The College of Menominee Nation is located at N172 State Highway 47/55 in Keshena, Wis. CMN is an accredited community college serving more than 600 undergraduate and technical/trades students on campuses in Keshena and in Green Bay.