Dispatches from the Road: Mining Country Institute, Opening Night Recap

The Empire Mine. (Photo courtesy of Cliffs Natural Resources)

MARQUETTE, Mich. – Mining for iron ore put this small city on the southern shore of Lake Superior on the map as workers for generations came from around the world. Tuesday night, that topic and other ecological matters brought together 18 journalists from around the United States on the first night of IJNR’s Mining Country Institute.

Gary Kaunonen, an author and historian at Michigan Tech University and Jerry Maynard, a member of the board of directors for the Superior Watershed Partnership and Land Trust, kicked off the five-day journey through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Wisconsin by giving short presentations during the opening night dinner.

Kaunonen began with a historical overview of mining in the Upper Peninsula, focusing primarily on the labor unrest of 1913-14 that ended in tragedy (immortalized in the Woody Guthrie song “1913 Massacre”http://bit.ly/19wfZdo ).

Maynard laid the groundwork for a visit today (Wednesday)to Lundin’s Eagle Mine by describing the unique monitoring of the facility by the Partnership.

Before heading out into mining country this morning, the group of 18 journalists participated in a video training session led by longtime Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter/editor Mike Scott. The first of two multimedia sessions was part of a new multimedia and social media layer that has been added to the 2013 institutes to better equip environmental and science reporters to tell stories on multiple platforms.

The schedule for the remainder of the first full day of the institute includes a trip down into Lundin’s Eagle Mine, a visit to the open-pit Empire Mine and a tour of Ishpeming’s empty neighborhoods, the ghost-town remnants of played-out iron mines.

Stay posted throughout the next four days as the group continues its travels.