Barn Dancing

(First photo:  Young and older enjoyed barn dancing at the Porcupine Mountains Folk School on November 30.   This year’s winter solstice event at the folk school will begin with dancing from 4:00-7:00 pm, followed by The Evening Winter Solstice Program at 7:30)





Celebrate the Winter Solstice at the Porcupine Mountain Folk School!

On December 21, the Porcupine Mountain Folk School will celebrate the Winter Solstice, beginning with a Barn Dance 4:00-7:00 pm at the folk school for those who enjoy folk, line and square dancing (or like to watch!), followed by an evening program.

The Winter Solstice program from 7:30- 9:30 pm at the folk school will feature live music by local artists including Mel Seeger, Dale Venema and Jim Jessup along with poetry readings. Ever since summer, the sun has been setting increasingly southward.  On the day of the winter solstice the sun will reach its southernmost point and start moving north again!  In the Northern Hemisphere the solstice is the day with the fewest hour of sunlight during the whole year; the sun will be at its lowest altitude above the horizon.  But spring is now on its way!

Don’t miss this fun evening.  There is no charge.  The Barn Dance includes a pot luck assortment of finger foods.  Light refreshments will be served at the Winter Solstice Program (live music, a short presentation and poetry) which follows.

 Mary Lund Calling Barn DanceThe folk School is located next to the Union Bay Campground on the Lake Superior side of Engineers Memorial Highway 107.  For more information call Kimberly Sims (863-528-5156 or 884-2877) or Joy Ibsen 885-5412.

 Second Photo: Mary Lund calls and teaches the dances to everyone’s enjoyment.


Submitted by Sherrie McCabe, AIRP Director

matt assenmacher-1 (2)   The fourth artist of the Artist-In-Residence Program (AIRP) is Matt Assenmacher from Brighton, Michigan.  Matt earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Aided Design Technology and his Master of Arts degree in Secondary Education from Eastern Michigan University where he is currently nearing completion of his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Technology.  He holds secondary teaching certifications in Industrial Technology Education and Industrial Technology (IX) Vocational Education.  He worked as a CAD Engineer for two downstate companies while completing his BA degree.  Since 2001 he has been a teacher of CAD/Drafting and Animation Instructor, first in Ann Arbor and now in Hartland.

    Matt wrote – “I became interested in art in 2004 after enrolling in still life and landscape painting courses at Eastern Michigan University.  Additionally, I have always been an avid outdoor adventurer.  I enjoy kayaking, snowboarding, cycling, hiking and camping to name a few.  Through these experiences I have gained artistic inspiration from the vivid natural beauty of the outdoors.  I have since become involved with the Brighton Art Guild and have had two public shows including an art exhibition at the University of Michigan’s Pierpont Commons Gallery, a gallery showcase of my work at the Brighton Area District Library and my work has appeared in the Grand Rapids based ArtPrize competition.  In addition, I have created pieces for the city of Brighton, the Mt. Brighton ski Area and I have even designed labels for a brewery.  I am honored and excited to be given the opportunity to create a piece of art through the Porcupine Mountains Artist-in-Residence program and I look forward to meeting any interested visitors.”

    On Saturday, August 3 Matt will guide workshop participants in the basics of sketching using the natural surroundings of the park for inspiration.  This free program is from 9:30 a.m. to noon at the Porcupine Mountains Folk School located near the Union Bay Campground in the park.  Pre-registration is required as space is limited. Call 906-884-7663 to reserve a slot.


   AIRP is a program of the Friends of the Porkies organization and is supported solely by memberships and fundraisers.  For more information, please visit


The Friends of the Porkies have received the Keweenaw Heritage Grant through the Keweenaw National Historic Park.  The $1,000 grant is used to facilitate local school field trips.  The Friends match the grant with a $1,000.  Donations can be accepted to support this program.Benishek Congrats Letter


Garlic Mustard PlantThe Dreaded Garlic Mustard

Recently, four retired park rangers headed into the woods to continue an ongoing project of eradicating Garlic Mustard, an invasive plant that has plagued the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park for years.  This year, the four stayed at interior cabins while they conducted their search and destroy mission.  The four were Jim Richardson, Mike Rafferty, Bob Sprague, and Dave Braithwaite, also members of the Friends of the Porkies. 

Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is a biennial herbaceous plant with single stems of 12 – 36″ high in its second and flowering year, the only plant of this height blooming white in wooded environments in early spring.  The leaves are round, kidney or scallop shaped of dark green.  In the first year, they present with rosettes of 3 or 4 leaves.  The leaves smell like onion or garlic when crushed.  They pose an ecological threat to woodlands by invading and replacing native plants.  Garlic mustard alters habitat for native insects, which impacts upon native birds and mammals.  It is now occuring in 27 midwestern states including Michigan.


The Folk School has kept busy providing quality instructors to teach interesting projects and the weekend of June 8 – 9 was no exception.  Former resident of this area Heidi Bukoski led three classes, 2 in the felting arts, and a silver wire bracelet class.  Heidi is a fiber artist who learned fiber crafts from her mother.  Later on, she learned wire weaving from her father, who’d learned it as a merchant mariner. 

For details on further classes at the Porcupine Mountains Folk School, please visit the Friends of the Porkies website at or call 906-884-4886 and talk with Programs Administrator Angie Foley.  The Friends of the Porkies is a non-profit organization formed to showcase the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park and to enhance the visitor’s experience in the park.


Barb and Eileen Sue BasileThe Porcupine Mountains Folk School kicked off some recent spring-like weather with Darlene Marczak’s class in making a vintage wind chime from articles such as old silverware, kitchen ware, pan lids, beads and other adornments, and fishing line.  Darlene, a resident of Ontonagon, was shown this craft by her daughter and subsequently spent some time at estate sales and yard sales shopping for items to be re-purposed into wind chimes, as varied as the people who make them.  For information on future Folk School classes, please call Angie Foley at 906-884-4886 or visit the Friends of the Porkies/Folkschool website at  Tuition discounts are offered for Friends of the Porkies members.


Bird Migrations Captured by Photographer Bill Norton

June 11, 2013

Submitted by Sherrie McCabe, AIRP Director     The third artist of the Artist-In-Residence Program (AIRP) is Bill Norton from East Lansing, Michigan.  Bill earned his B.A. degree in English and Psychology at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids and his Educational Specialist and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in School Psychology at Michigan State University.  In addition, […]

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Litter Pick-Up Project

June 7, 2013

Once again, the Friends of the Porkies completed the 16-mile litter pickup project from the entrance sign to the permit booth at Lake of the Clouds (8 miles up, 8 miles back). This year was slightly different with the volunteers choosing a date, time, and portion convenient to their schedules rather than a 1-day completion. Eight people […]

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AIRP Tim Feathers

June 3, 2013

Wisconsin photographer to reside in the Porkies The Friends of the Porkies will welcome Tim Feathers to the Porcupine Mountains Artist-in-Residence Program (AIRP) in mid June.  Tim has been an art educator in Weston, Wisconsin’s D.C. Everest Area School District for the past twenty-five years.  He teaches 7th grade art at the middle school where […]

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First AIRP Presentation – Glenn Freeman

May 29, 2013

CONTACT PERSON:Sherrie McCabeAIRP Directore-mail Porcupine Mountains Artist In Residence Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, will host 5 artists during the 2013 season. This year’s artists include writer and poet Glenn Freeman from Mount Vernon, Iowa, photographer Tim Feathers from Weston, Wisconsin and Michigan residents photographer Bill Norton from East Lansing, […]

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