Staff & Volunteers
The Folk School Program has been developed and until recently was administered by Friends of the Porkies volunteers. Our goal is to provide useful arts classes that focus on traditional skills and teach through hands-on experiences. The volunteers are personally dedicated to sharing with others the natural and diverse beauty of The Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park of Michigan. If you are interested in becoming a Folk School volunteer, please contact us.
Programs Administrator – Holly Burbak
Holly is the person you’ll talk to if you need any assistance with the Folk School or anything else Friends related. The Friends hired Holly in January, 2015, to work with all the Program Directors and the Board. Holly has a background in marketing and events planning, and she has a strong interest in helping the Friends thrive as a quality organization. Please feel free to phone Holly at 906-884-7663 if you are interested in being a part of a Friends program. To register for a Folk School class, phone Holly at 906-884-7663, write to P. O. Box 221, Ontonagon, MI 49953 or e-mail. Make checks for class fees payable to Friends of the Porkies.
Karen Berg – 2011 Friends Volunteer of the Year
At the time of my retirement many asked what I was going to do…to keep busy. The answer was easy: I will volunteer where there is much to be learned. Little did I know at that time that in four years (2001) I would decide to pack up and move north to live near my favorite vacation place, where the Porkies and Lake Superior lay. I expected to volunteer in the schools and in the local Ontonagon County Museum, but it was the Park and “The Friends of the Porkies” that was the greatest draw.
I’ve discovered I love to work on “Friends” projects that intend to bring people to the Park. I find many ways in which to promote the Park as well.
It gives me the opportunity to get outside and to work with like-minded people who care deeply about each other and the environment they are privileged to live in.
Some of the projects I have worked on with the Friends:
Road side clean-up
Started fires at trail-side warming huts
Restarted the Porkies Folk School Program (begun in 2006 and continuing)
Schedule classes at the Folk School (on-going)
Managing the Folk School Program
Helped to build the Artist-in-Residence cabin “Dan’s Cabin”
Wrote a book about the 4 year construction process of Dan’s Cabin
Served on the Artist-in-Residence Program for 3 years
Work on the August Porkies 3-Day Music Festival (annual event)
Market the book “Discovering Lake Superior” by Tom Warren (all profits are given to the Friends of the Porkies)
Promote the Porkies wherever I am, to whomever I find (Pass out Porkies FS business cards)
Sally Berman, Folk School committee member, with her late husband, Al, fell in love with the Porkies when they purchased their home “between the Cranberries” in 1976. Sally taught chemistry at a large Chicago suburban high school, and after she stepped through a golden early retirement window in 1994, she led workshops and graduate courses for educators for several years. While they were still in the classroom, she and Al spent all of their holiday and vacation time at their home on the lake and moved to the shore when they retired from teaching in 1994. A few years ago, Sally joined the Folk School Committee, and for the past several years she has been the weekend Ontonagon Lighthouse tour guide. Sally joined the Friends board in 2014, and her goal is to help the Friends grow and thrive.
Barbara Braithwaite has been on the Folk School Committee since 2009 and has participated as a classroom host, student, publicity agent, janitor, and anything else needed. She is also on the Executive Board of the Friends of the Porkies and on a couple other committees dedicated to serving the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. She and husband Dave are retired and live on Lake Superior just down the road from the park and enjoy the park year-round by kayaking, canoeing, skiing, hiking, and camping.