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Here's What We're Doing
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Propagating Trees to Remediate Climate Change and Ground Water Contaminants

For the second year, the Portage Lake Garden Club, Onekama Consolidated Schools and Archangel Ancient Tree Archive (AATA) are collaborating to teach tenth grade students how to remediate climate change and ground water contaminants by propagating and planting appropriate trees and shrubs. The Portage Lake Garden Club is the lead agency for this project and purchased the stakes, weed barrier and protective tubes needed for planting.

Classroom education focused on how trees remove carbon dioxide from the air, biodiversity and the importance of native trees, plants and insects to our food supply.  While at AATA, the students propagated dogwood and black willow trees, and saw thousands of previously propagated trees, including very young giant sequoias.  Dogwood and black willow trees are native to Manistee.  They are known for their flood resilience and erosion control. Both are able to clean contaminates such as mercury from the soil.  Several studies have confirmed that planting willows and dogwoods are successful cost-efficient methods for restoring contaminated soils in mining areas and landfills.  Working with PLGC and AATA gave the OCS students hands-on experience propagating, growing and planting trees that are well-suited for the Portage Lake area. 

Environmental School

Portage Lake Garden Club and Manistee’s Spirit of the Woods Garden Club partnered to host a National Garden Club Environmental School consisting of 40 hours of study divided into four courses.  Open to the public, Environmental School emphasizes action for sustainable development,  the interrelationship of all living things and environmental literacy.  

Onekama Village Park Fountain & Garden

The club recently completed a four year restoration of the 135 year old cast iron fountain. In 1887, the fountain was installed at the Manistee County courthouse. Fire destroyed the courthouse in 1950.  Soon after, the club acquired the fountain and moved it to Onekama Village Park.  The fountain is listed as both a Michigan Historic Site and in the National Register of Historic Places. It is the last surviving 19th century cast iron fountain in the state. It is unique because it features a merman, not a mermaid. The restoration work received national and state level awards. The club maintains the garden surrounding the fountain.

Farr Center Mural

Working with a local artist and students from Onekama Consolidated Schools, the club had a mural painted on the east side of the Farr Center in Onekama.  The mural features the 150th anniversary of “the Cut”, a key point in Onekama's history and directs the public to our gardens.

Farr Center Gardens

Located at the Farr Center (home to Onekama Village offices and Onekama Library), our club members maintain all of the gardens and landscaping around the building.  The Butterfly and Native Plant gardens were created by the club. They are educational as well as being a lovely backdrop for events held at the Center. The Butterfly Garden is a recognized Waystation for butterflies and other migratory species. The Memorial Brick Patio gives the community an opportunity to honor or remember people.

Civic Gardens

The club maintains the areas underneath the Welcome to Onekama signs along M-22, as well as the underneath the Onekama Consolidated Schools sign.

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Beautification Award

Presented to a business establishment that has been the most improved by landscaping.  The 2023 Beautification Awardee is Lakeside Treats and Bait, located on Main Street in Onekama.  Diane Marion owns the business and her son Philip manages the store.  Neither Diane or Philip was available to be photographed.

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Harvest Garden Award

Onekama resident Mike Grant has received the 2023 Harvest Garden Award. The award recognizes individuals with outstanding floral and/or food gardens. Mike has lived in Onekama for over fifty years and graduated from Onekama High School. Over five generations of his family have lived in Onekama.

Flower Show

Our club often sponsors a judged flower show following standards set by National Garden Clubs, Inc. The next show is proposed for 2025.

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