Catalyst-Grant-restoring-mnomen-Winnowing the rice. Wild Rice Initiative | Photo credit: Todd Marsee, Michigan Sea Grant.

Winnowing the mnomen. Photo credit: Todd Marsee, Michigan Sea Grant.

Southeastern Michigan was known for its productive Mnomen / wild rice beds (also spelled Manoomin: both mean ‘the good berry’) into the early 20th century. These beds increasingly collapsed due to mill and hydroelectric dam construction, wetland drainage programs, land-use change and pollution. Where – and how – can mnomen be restored on the many Matthaei-Nichols and School for Environment and Sustainability properties within 100 miles of Ann Arbor?
Collaborating with and under the guidance of Tribal partners for whom these properties are within their homelands before they were Removed, we will find out. The Mnomen Initiative, funded by a Catalyst Grant (link below), funds our engaged Assessment phase so that we can propose a priority pilot site(s) to restore Mnomen as part of eco-cultural sustainability and reconciliation. More information is at the GALA digital class site (link below.)

Donate your canoe!

We are in need of a functional canoe that meets certain proportions, and can be poled by a standing person while another individual is engaged with the plants. Does your canoe meet these requirements?
  • Cannot exceed 17 feet
  • No wider than 36-38 inches
  • Must be able to hold 2 people + equipment + rice
  • Only bench seats – no uprights or fixed chairs (must be able to stand and work a push pole as well as change places)
  • Maneuverable on land by ONE PERSON – the lighter the better
  • BONUS: equipment to help the canoe travel by car.
If you would like to support this project, and have a canoe that you would like to donate to Matthaei-Nichols as a gift-in-kind, or would like to support the purchase of a new canoe please contact Director of Development, Meredith Olson at
Read the full story at the Graham Sustainability Institute.
Learn about mnomen.