VLOG: Jody and Marci talk about the August 2017 issue
Abundance. It can mean so many different things, as we discovered while putting together the August 2017 issue. We are blessed with an abundance of talented writers and advertisers who make this magazine happen each month. We hope you enjoy this issue and find something that inspires you.
The Ethical Fashion Blogger: Less is More
By Stephanie Fong For most of us, having an abundance of what we need seems like a good thing. This can be especially true of clothes. How easy it is to pick up a few bagfuls of inexpensive clothes for the current season, just to forget them entirely when the weather changes? But what happens when an overabundance of “stuff”—so easily purchased and then discarded—comes at a price for someone else? That’s what Jame (aka Jella) Jornales of the Philippines asks herself and her social media friends as part of what she calls her “passion project” promoting ethical fashion and minimalist living. Jella developed a love of fashion and the arts when living in London, England. She also spent time living and working in various locations in the United States, including Medora, North Dakota. (You may recognize her face from ads for Medora’s Rough Riders Hotel a few years back.) A self-confessed former shopaholic, Jella says her world-view changed in 2015. She began living a more conscious lifestyle after watching “The True Cost” documentary, a film that explores the social and environmental impact of the fast fashion industry. Seeing the film opened Jella’s eyes to what ethical fashion was and inspired her to start putting people over profit. She began shopping from ethical companies who treat their workers and the environment with respect. She also became conscious of her role as a consumer in the age of fast fashion. “It seems like we are brainwashed to always need to get the latest—whatever is trendy. It almost seems like we are owned by our things when it should be the other way around.” Jella decided to pare down her own clothing collection to have a “capsule closet”—a small number of high-quality, stylish, and versatile pieces she loved that could be paired with multiple outfits. (Think of the “Tiny House” movement, but in terms of clothes: less is more.) Clearing out and donating a lot of the clothes she owned was eye-opening and even heart-breaking, as she realized how much money and time had been spent on items she seldom wore. “I used to own 300-plus pieces of clothing two years ago and am now down to around 70. Simplifying my closet and choosing to only buy ethically and sustainably has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” says Jella. “I started realizing that I don’t need much to be happy and that made all the difference. Now I can actually say I own my things instead of the things owning me.” Inspired by how this lifestyle change benefited her own life, Jella uses social media as a platform to encourage her online community, to share brands she believes in, and to simply try to make a difference. In Jella’s day job she works as a full-time financial advisor. However, thanks to her Instagram account @jellajornales, she’s known to many as the “Ethical Fashion Blogger.” She is also involved in international organizations such as Fashion Revolution, which challenges consumers to direct the hashtag #WhoMadeMyClothes at their favorite clothing brands on social media. “We want more brands and companies to take responsibility in each part of the supply chain, all the way to the garment workers themselves. We are calling for transparency and accountability.” For those wondering how to shift their shopping habits, Jella has these tips: Start small. The easiest thing anyone can do is to CONSUME LESS. Whenever you feel the need to buy something, just ask yourself this question: “Do I really need it or am I just buying this because I want it?” Be aware. Ask yourself, “Who made my clothes?” Look for brands that are ethical and have a sustainable business model. Shop simple & swap. Thrift-store shopping and participating in clothing swaps are great ways to refresh your wardrobe with clothing pieces that still have life and style in them. Back home in the Philippines, Jella has started speaking on panels and at seminars about the topics she is passionate about. “Educating people is important because most of us go on with our day not knowing that there are consequences to our [clothing] choices. I try to start a conversation in a way that sparks curiosity and inspires others to also look at how they consume. I do it in a positive and engaging way because the last thing I want is to guilt-trip people.” She says her passion is fueled by her faith. “I am inspired by Jesus’ teachings. One of my favorite verses is Micah 6:8 because it talks about acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with our God.” Stephanie Fong Stephanie Fong lives in Dickinson with her husband, Carter, daughter Sydney, and son Parker. Originally from Powers lake, North Dakota, she has lived in southwestern North Dakota for over a decade. She enjoys contributing stories about interesting and inspiring women.
Basin’s Backyard Garden: Cooperation Grows Abundantly
By Pam Vukelic If you walk, rather than drive, around Bismarck you can’t help but notice an abundance of gardens. There are, of course, flower gardens, vegetable gardens, and herb gardens. I’ve come across a pollinating garden and a dragonfly garden. I’ve noticed a memory garden and a peace garden. And I’ve found several community gardens with hundreds of plots. They’re at United Tribes, near the ball field off Front Street, on Calgary Avenue, and near Airport Road. At Buckstop Junction is the GROW Garden where once a week gardeners with disabilities gather to plant, weed, and harvest. One garden that might not be on your walking path, though, is Basin’s Backyard Garden, found on the grounds of the Basin Electric Power Cooperative. There, nestled between a few trees and near the parking areas, is a thoughtfully planned and lovingly tended garden. The gardeners are a cadre of Basin employees who have answered the call to volunteer. In 2014, Tracie Bettenhausen, Senior Staff Writer/Editor for Basin, proposed the Backyard Garden idea to her co-workers. Perhaps the seed had been planted when she worked in her own community garden plot. She proposed the project as an opportunity to put into practice some of the seven principles on which cooperatives are built. Her group of volunteers now numbers about 50. Workers show up when Tracie puts the word out that there are, for example, weeds to pull, radishes to thin, and bags of lettuce to deliver. Some of the gardening is done while workers are on a break or during lunchtime. Workers even show up on weekends for a bit of R and R after a hectic week. Each of the first two years of the garden’s existence yielded about 500 pounds of produce which was harvested and given away. In the third year, nearly 1,000 pounds of produce was donated. The vegetables go to various food pantries found under the umbrella of the Hunger Free North Dakota program. Recipients included the Great Plains Food Bank, Burleigh Emergency Food Pantry, Ruth Meiers Hospitality House, Salvation Army, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Trinity Lutheran Church, Bismarck Senior Center, and Community Action. Individuals who frequent Bismarck’s food pantries place great value on fresh produce. Having fresh tomatoes or basil is a real treat. The recipients value the donations from a nutritional standpoint and from the novelty of having something fresh from a local garden. Also, for many, the foods evoke memories of times past when they nurtured their own gardens, something they may no longer be able to do. Residents at the Bismarck Senior Center, for example, get excited about radishes, usually the first to mature. For others, the foods offer the opportunity to prepare a favorite family recipe, such as knoephla soup when celery and potatoes are available. This is a clear example of the cooperative principle of concern for the community. Another cooperative principle is education, training, and information. Visitors to the garden have included Montessori and elementary school children. Montessori kids have done art and craft projects using the vegetables for stamping and paint brushes. Highland Acres students came to study the garden as they dreamed of creating a school garden in their neighborhood. The children learned how seeds become plants. I’m reminded of the story I heard about the grandfather who took his young grandson to his garden to dig potatoes for supper. The incredulous child said, “Grandpa, why do you keep your potatoes in the dirt?” These kids will know better. Cooperation among cooperatives, another of the principles, has been pursued by collaborating with members of the BisMan Food Cooperative. The Basin garden and the food co-op ideas started at about the same time. The gardeners hosted the food co-op members to encourage membership and promote cooperative concepts. Tracie took me on a tour of the garden. It is well on its way to serving the community again. The rows of beans and peas are pushing their tendrils out. The corn is standing tall, the potatoes look stocky, and the vining plants have room to spread. I expect the volunteers will get great pleasure from distributing the literal fruits of their labor to grateful Bismarck residents. As a related project, the Basin employees participate in Casual for a Cause, a summer jeans-wearing initiative. Over $40,000 has been raised through this project with the money being used to support the Great Plains Food Bank and United Way’s Backpacks for Kids programs. You don’t even need to get any dirt under your fingernails to help in this way! Pam Vukelic is an online FACS (Family and Consumer Science) instructor for the Missouri River Educational Cooperative. Pam’s garden is mainly herbs, small pumpkins, and gourds. She enjoys giving her bouquets to friends and neighbors this time of year. She plans to share the gourds and pumpkins for fall arrangements.
For Love and Candy
By Jody Kerzman JoAnn Brilz loves kids and she loves Jesus. A few years ago, she figured out how to combine her loves and started her own little ministry. The secret to her ministry: candy. JoAnn is known to many kids at St. Mary’s in Bismarck, North Dakota simply as “The Candy Lady.” After 11:00 Mass on Sunday mornings, kids quietly line up beside JoAnn’s pew and wait for their turn with The Candy Lady. “They hug me, I whisper in their ear ‘Jesus is so happy you’re here,’ I give them a piece of candy, and then it’s the next kid’s turn.” The candy is nothing fancy, usually a sucker. “I buy the big bags of suckers from Sam’s Club. Sometimes I add something special for the holidays. I try to give candy that isn’t a big mess and won’t completely ruin their appetites.” JoAnn keeps her candy bag in her car so she’ll never forget it. She looks forward to seeing kids week after week and knows them all by name. “I think of them all as my kids. I’m so proud of the kids in our parish when they help out by ushering or carrying the gifts. They remind me of my own kids.” JoAnn’s kids are grown now, ranging in age from 21 to 30. She and her husband, Barry, raised four kids and now they’re happy to spoil their four grandkids. And although they’re grown and have their own families, the Brilz kids still attend Mass with their parents every Sunday. “We have always gone to church together,” says JoAnn. “We go to church and then out for lunch. That’s just what we do on Sundays. Sundays are a day for family.” That family time is what prompted JoAnn to start her ministry. “It was something I felt I needed to do. Kids are our future. So many don’t come to church, and when they do they don’t know what to do. I wanted to give them a reason to be excited about church. This is my ministry. In the Bible Jesus says we won’t get into heaven until we become like little children (Matthew 18:3). They are so innocent. I have always loved kids. My ministry gives me a reason to connect with so many children.” She’s also connected with adults and watched others form strong friendships. All because of a bag of candy. “We are a church family and it’s so important we make time for our church family. If I can keep the kids busy with candy, the parents have time to visit,” JoAnn explains. “Some people have given me money to pay for the candy. I don’t want money. I’m able to afford this, but it’s so nice that they want to help me. What I really want is for families to make time for church. I can feel the presence of the Lord when I’m handing out candy every week. It feels good.” While JoAnn hands out candy her family waits patiently for her. They know the importance of The Candy Lady’s work, no matter how long it takes. “We’re always the last to leave church!” Kids line up to get a hug and a piece of candy from JoAnn after Mass. JoAnn gets lots of hugs from the kids at St. Mary's. JoAnn and her five-year-old granddaughter, Gabby. There is always a line of kids waiting to see JoAnn after Mass.
Bio Girls: Real Beauty—Inside & Out
By Marci Narum | Photography: Photos by Jacy Nine-year-old Norah Walker doesn’t like to quit. The Bismarck fourth grader loves to be part of any activity, as long as she can be with her friends. She’s in volleyball, basketball, dance, and swimming. But Norah discovered this summer that she’s not a fan of running, so she was willing to give up her spot in a popular girl’s program that involves running three to four times a week. Norah is one of 35 girls who joined BIO Girls, a 12-week program for second through sixth grade girls. It uses Christian-based curriculum to teach faith-centered life skills and build confidence in young girls. There is also physical training; the girls and their 10 female mentors will complete a 5K together at the culmination of the program in September. “At the very first session we asked the girls to name a goal,” explains Valerie Woeste, who organized the Bismarck BIO Girls program. “Some said they wanted to run a mile without walking, some just wanted to complete a 5K, some didn’t know what a 5K is. Some want to run the entire thing without walking. It’s really staying true to your own goals and not measuring them against someone else’s.” BIO Girls stands for “Beautiful Inside and Out.” Missy Heilman of Fargo founded the program which has quickly spread across parts of North Dakota and Minnesota and continues to be in demand. The Bismarck BIO Girls filled within minutes and had a waiting list. “I think the ages we serve with BIO Girls is so important,” says Valerie. “When they go into middle school, it’s so easy to get lost in the crowd, to maybe conform to what others are telling them they should do or just losing sight of that inner confidence. If we can get them early and start instilling that if you like ice skating and your friends like basketball, it’s okay—you can still be friends. But stay true to what you want to do.” Kelli Neigum, a volunteer mentor for BIO Girls has two grown daughters, ages 19 and 21. “I think it’s great. I wish there would have been something like this when they were younger. Something to get them involved and talk openly and encourage each other,” she says. Encouragement and positive energy flow abundantly as the girls gather for their fourth week. The theme is Fill a Bucket and Timed Mile. The Bible verse for the week is 1 Thessalonians 5:11—Encourage one another and help one another, just as you are doing now. Mentor, Brandy Currie begins the session by reading a book to the girls: “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” “Everyone carries an invisible bucket,” she reads. “When you fill someone’s bucket, you fill your own bucket too.” A bubbly eight-year old Amaya Fleckenstein says being a bucket-filler is like having ‘magical happiness’ all the time. “You have to have lots of courage in yourself and try to give lots of compliments to whoever you can find,” she says. “Even if they look different or they’re mean, you should still be nice to them. No matter what.” “We want to really focus on teaching these girls that beauty means something different to everybody but that it’s not just about what you look like on the outside but what is written on your heart by God; following your dream and staying true to who you are,” Valerie explains. “I think that is what stems from confidence and that is what we are trying to really instill in these girls, that even though you and I don’t look the same you’re beautifully, fearfully, and wonderfully made by God. He made you different for a reason.” On the track afterward, the girls train for their 5K. They run in groups for their timed mile—but it is not a competition between runners. Each girl is taught to challenge herself and encourage the others in their personal goals. And they do. There are high fives, cheers, and clapping from girls waiting their turn as runners complete another lap. “They don’t have to be the one to take first place in the [5K] race but even just being able to complete it is what matters,” says BIO Girls mentor, Tricia Becker. “It’s not about who’s the fastest or slowest, it’s more about growth within themselves.” Norah’s mom, Michelle Walker says it’s what makes BIO Girls so special—and why Norah never did give up her spot. She says Norah has blossomed in BIO Girls. “She never really wanted to quit,” Michelle says. “She loved the curriculum and the kids. After getting encouragement from Valerie to stay with it, she got excited. The mentors tell the girls all the time, ‘do what you can.’ So the encouragement makes such a difference.” Norah says she likes running now. Her workouts also include walking and riding her bike. She felt confident about completing the timed mile and the upcoming 5K in September. “A lot of people cheer each other on and I think that’s pretty cool,” Norah says. “I think they’re at such a critical age to learn how important it is to build each other up and how that makes you feel,” Michelle adds. “And being a bucket-filler, being there for your friends, understanding real beauty.” See more photos of the BIO Girls by Photos by Jacy here.
Jackie Buckley: Sharing an Abundant life
By Jody Kerzman | Photography: Photos by Jacy Jackie Buckley is a self-described tomboy. “I just told someone the other day that I probably should have been a boy, because I’ve never liked to carry a purse!” laughs Jackie. With or without a purse, this tomboy paved the way for many other women in the agriculture industry. “Agriculture has always been a part of my life,” says 61-year-old Jackie, who recently retired from her career as a county extension agent. “I was raised on a ranch by Belfield, North Dakota. We had about 100 head of registered Hereford cattle and some small grains. I was the oldest of five girls, so I was my dad’s hired man. I drove tractor, I drove combine, I did all the ‘guy’ things.” After high school she attended North Dakota State University. She graduated in 1979 with a degree in animal science. Not sure what she wanted to do next, Jackie returned home to the ranch where she once again became her dad’s hired hand. It was an ad in the paper that led Jackie to a career she loved. “I saw an ad in the paper that there was an assistant extension agent position open in Bismarck, so I applied,” recalls Jackie. “I didn’t get it. But at that time once you applied for one job you were also considered for other openings.” TOUGH ROW TO HOE In September 1979, Jackie was hired as assistant county agent in Traill County. She moved to Hillsboro, North Dakota to begin what would become a 37 year career as a county agent. But it would be many years before her peers truly accepted her. “The agents at that time told me they didn’t want a girl. They would be in big trouble if they said that now! One of the agents, who I love to death, told me he didn’t think I could lift 50 pound bags of pocket gopher bait or carry fence posts. I told him I was raised on a farm and I knew what I was doing.” Still, it took awhile to convince her fellow agents and producers of that. Jackie was only the second woman hired as a county agent in North Dakota. Lynette Nieuwsma was the first. “She and I talked a lot about how many times we were interviewed for jobs before they would actually hire us. We were women and at that time women were not in agricultural jobs. It was man’s work,” remembers Jackie. “At first when I was hired there were people who didn’t trust me because I was a woman. They wouldn’t come to me for advice or answers. They thought because I was a woman, I wouldn’t know anything.” Comfort & Community After two years in Hillsboro, Jackie was itching to get back to western North Dakota. “I always said when I moved there I wouldn’t marry a sugar beet farmer! I made it well known I wouldn’t be there long,” laughs Jackie. “I always felt more comfortable in the west.” So, in 1981, Jackie headed west to Bowman, where she took the job as extension agent for Bowman County. “I felt really accepted when I moved to Bowman. I was basically a hometown girl because I grew up in the area. A lot of the people in Bowman knew me already or knew my parents. I had many friends there from my 4-H days.” Jackie and her family—husband Sam and sons Jack and Jerry—lived in Bowman for nine years. In 1990, Jackie felt it was time for another change. She accepted the job as Morton County Extension Agent and the family moved to Mandan. “The boys were young when we moved to Mandan—first grade and two and a half years old. They didn’t want to leave Bowman. It was hard at first. I was so used to going to the grocery store and knowing everyone, and here I didn’t know anyone. It was a little overwhelming. I remember thinking maybe I bit off more than I could chew. But the people here were very welcoming and friendly and once we got to know some people we really felt like we were a part of the community. “We always felt it was important to be involved in our community. When I took the job with Morton County, I knew we needed to live in Morton County because the Morton County taxpayers were the ones paying my salary. I needed to be a part of the community,” Jackie explains. “And my boys were involved too. They were in 4-H, FFA, band, and football at Mandan High School.” Jackie says being a part of the community helped her do her job better, a job that required her to know a lot about many different topics. Extension agents do a little bit of everything, from agriculture to family and consumer sciences. “I had great people in my office that handled the family and consumer science piece while I focused on the ag side. We help farmers with cropping decisions, such as herbicide applications and planting the correct varieties. We advise producers a lot on custom rates and rental rates. Our office gets lots of calls from absentee landowners; they may live in Florida or California and inherited land here and want know how to take care of it. That’s an education piece because typically they don’t know much about agriculture. We do a lot of work with estate planning—teaching producers how they need to transition the farm to the next generation. It’s not always an easy thing to talk about.” Experience & Perseverance In her more than three decades as an agent, she also came to love horticulture, lawn and garden care, and working with 4-H kids. “All those things are offered at no charge to residents and they kept me busy all summer,” says Jackie. “I met a lot of neat people when I’d go look at lawns and I got to see amazing yards and landscaping. It’s something I really enjoyed. But I had to learn it. I was an animal science major. I took zero horticulture classes in college. I also didn’t know much about crops. But when I worked in Hillsboro there were very few cattle so I learned a lot of agronomy in my years there.” Despite her knowledge and accumulating years of experience and trust from the public, there were still obstacles. “Shortly after I moved to Mandan I had a gentleman come to my office and at that time I had an intern for the summer also. The intern came back to my office and said ‘this guy doesn’t want to see you because you’re a lady.’ The intern told me the gentleman’s question, I gave him the answer, and he gave it to the man. I was frustrated because he trusted my intern simply because he was a man.” But Jackie persevered, and her perseverance helped build bridges for future women who would pursue ag careers. “It wasn’t always easy. None of the men I worked with wanted me there, but they learned to accept and trust me,” Jackie says. “I guess I feel like I really helped young women who wanted careers in agriculture. When I started as a county agent, I was only the second female to have that job in the whole state. Now over half of the agents in North Dakota are women.” Health & Family In 2016, Jackie decided her work was done and it was time to retire. December 30, 2016 marked her last day in the office, and her last day of a career she loved so much. She still gets teary-eyed when asked about the decision. “I had breast cancer three years ago. The diagnosis didn’t surprise me—my mom and two of my aunts all had breast cancer and one of my sisters passed away two years ago from breast cancer,” says Jackie. “I tell everyone I wasn’t surprised. And because of my family history, I had been having mammograms since I was 35 years old. When they found the cancer, it was a stage zero. I only had to have radiation and a lumpectomy. I’ve been cancer-free for three years. “But cancer made me realize I wanted to spend more time with my family. Extension work is not a five day a week job and it’s not 8 to 5 work. I worked many nights, evenings, and weekends. My kids were sometimes bitter about that but they are grown now and they are better people because of what I did. They work pretty much like I did.” Her sons not only inherited her work ethic, but also her love for agriculture. Both have agriculture degrees from NDSU; Jack is a loan officer for Farm Credit Services in Carrington, North Dakota. Jerry worked for a few years as an extension agent and is now an agronomist in Halstad, Minnesota. Sharing Her Ag Experience While cancer inspired Jackie to slow down and spend more time with her family, it also forced her to evaluate what she truly loves, which is working with kids. Jackie continues to coach the Morton County livestock team, something she says she’ll do as long as she’s needed. “Working with youth has been the biggest highlight of my career,” Jackie says with pride in her voice. “The judging teams that Morton County has put together have been so successful. I’m now coaching kids whose parents I took on national judging trips. It’s a program that’s been successful for many years and I just love working with the kids.” Jackie also loved working with the media during her 26 years as Morton County Extension Agent. She wrote a weekly news column, did an hour long radio program twice a month, and was a weekly guest on KFYR-TV’s morning and noon shows. “The KFYR thing started when I was visiting with Al Gustin at his niece’s high school graduation party. He asked if I’d be willing to be a regular guest, I said yes, and I ended up doing that for 16 years,” Jackie recalls. “I loved doing those segments. It was a free way to get our word out. People come up to me all the time and say ‘You’re Jackie Buckley. I saw you on TV.’ So I know we reached a lot of people beyond Morton County.” Now that Jackie and her husband are both now semi-retired—both say they’ll never stop working completely—this “tomboy” is grateful she persevered and followed her passion for agriculture. She says that passion has blessed her with an abundance of knowledge, experiences, and led to some amazing friendships. She is a woman that people in all walks of life respect, trust, and admire—purse or no purse. Watch an exclusive video of Jackie talking about her sons’ careers in agriculture, here. And, see more photos of Jackie by Photos by Jacy, here.
VIDEO: Jackie Buckley Talks About Her Sons’ Careers in Agriculture
The apple didn’t fall too far from the tree when it comes to Jackie Buckley’s sons; both are graduates of North Dakota State University, just like their mom, and both now have jobs in agriculture, just like their mom.
VIDEO: Walking Tour of the Bill Bicknell Memorial Pollinator Garden
Sue Bicknell takes Marci Narum on a walking tour of the Bill Bicknell Memorial Pollinator Garden. Excuse the wind noise… but it is North Dakota!
Oh Man: Bill Bicknell, A Legacy of Nature & Nurture
Bill Bicknell By Marci Narum A man cannot predict his own legacy, nor whether it will be physical or intangible. Bill Bicknell’s is both. Bill was all about nature and nurture. As a biologist for more than 30 years, he kept diligent notes about everything he saw in the field—birds, insects, animals—whether at work, in his garden, or hunting. But Bill was also known by people in his professional and personal life as a man who nurtured relationships. Retired biologists, Al Sapa and Dave Dewald, worked with Bill for 20 years. The three became friends on the job at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Bismarck, North Dakota. “If you needed a person to work with somebody, he was the guy,” Al remembers. “Because he could build relationships, which is everything when you’re in government, you’ve got to have relationships.” “He was a consensus-builder too,” Dave adds. “If he had people that were on other ends of the pendulum, he was going to bring them together.” “It was such an important thing to him to be able to get people to sit down and talk and find common ground,” explains Bill’s widow, Sue Bicknell. And so it’s quite fitting that an idea Bill started in 2015 is now in full bloom and giving people a place to connect and share common ground. The Bill Bicknell Memorial Pollinator Garden is a tangible part of his legacy; a place for nature and nurture. “Bill had this idea that a pollinator garden would be a good fit for Bismarck,” Sue recalls. “And I think it was Dave who said, ‘good idea Bill, do it!’” Not being one to sit on a good idea, Bill enlisted the help of Dave and Al, and their friends at the Lewis and Clark Wildlife Club to get the project rolling in the summer of 2015. They worked with the Bismarck Parks and Recreation district to locate land and began working the ground that fall. “The timing was perfect because this park was just being developed,” Dave remembers. “The city had just put in the observation corner and walkway, and just hauled in a lot of soil so they had a bare spot that needed to be covered with something. So Bill got that going with Parks and Rec.” Over the winter the group ordered seeds and plants, and contacted The Xerces Society (https://xerces.org/) for support and information. In the spring of 2016, planting the pollinator garden began with help from the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and USDA Plant Materials Center in Bismarck. Bill died December 19, 2015. He never got to see his project come to life. Enduring an extremely dry summer, the pollinator garden still continues to grow during its second season and it serves the purpose Bill intended: to raise awareness about the crash of pollinators in recent years. Pollinators are critical for agriculture and the U.S. food system; Bill wanted to show others how to help butterflies, bees, and birds thrive. “Bill and these two guys are all retired biologists so there’s a heightened awareness of what’s going on in the world when you work in the field,” Sue explains. “For years there have been articles on monarchs; the crash of the monarch population and the crash of the meadowlark population. Particularly the bees, the hive collapse syndrome. The honey bees are an introduced species but they are a big deal on this continent now because they do the heavy lifting when it comes to pollinating now for agriculture. “But the monarchs are such a visible, recognizable species that if you want to raise awareness of this type of decline you want a poster child and the monarch is the go-to critter for that, for the pollinator bunch. They are beautiful, people know what they are, and kids love them. So Bill thought this would be a great way to raise awareness in Bismarck, get people involved, and encourage people to do it in their backyards.” In its first summer, the pollinator garden generated a lot of excitement, especially when 40 monarch butterflies showed up during their migration. “A friend of mine came up with her kids and they were standing right next to that (plant?) and the butterflies were all over them,” Sue says. “She said the kids were so excited!” Members of the Lewis and Clark Wildlife Club hope the excitement builds. “I put plants in my yard and a couple other yards,” says Al. “So we’ve got a start with pollinators. Now if we can get those monarchs going we’ll be in good shape.” “I was down here taking pictures and a man was jogging by and he saw me with my camera,” Sue says. “He stopped to talk and said, ‘I’ve admired this garden and I’m building a building for my business and I’m wondering how to landscape it. This would be the perfect thing.’ I got his email and sent him the list of plants that we had put in here and some contacts for him to buy plants.” “The Friends of Audubon came down for a tour,” Dave adds. “It’s small steps.” “Bill was a gardener—big time,” explains Sue. “He thought this would be a great way to help the pollinator population. If you get a certain population in Bismarck who had the right kind of plants in their yards, it would help. One little garden is probably not going to turn the tide. Maybe 100 won’t turn the tide but you’ve got to try and that was his idea, to just get this garden someplace in Bismarck where people would see it when they were walking by. “It’s just the beginning, says Al. “There are lots of other things that can happen out here related to pollinators.” Sue says Bill’s legacy is a way of life and an outlook that shaped the things that were important to him: nature and nurture. “For him this was a natural progression from growing vegetables in your backyard to supporting the critters that make all that happen, which is the pollinators. He thought, naturally, everybody would be enthusiastic about this. I hope he’s right. I think it’s easy for people to identify a monarch and be excited. Maybe not a bee, a hover fly, or a mosquito—because mosquitoes pollinate as well—but the butterfly is an easy one to put in front of the public and say, ‘you can help these critters.’” Click here to watch a walking tour video of the pollinator garden. Inspired to start your own pollinator garden? Click here to learn more. Al Sapa, Dave Dewald, and Sue Bicknell looking at the garden Dave Dewald pulling weeds Monarch butterflies on a plant in the garden, summer 2016 Planting the garden Garden prep 2016 Bill Bicknell
The Softer Side of Travel
The author in Key West, Florida, circa February, 1986. By Carole Hemingway I’ve been fortunate to have lived in so many beautiful places after my second divorce. At the time, I put all my worldly possessions into storage and decided to live out of a suitcase for the next 17 years. With no possessions to drag me down, I reinvented myself and decided to see as much of the world as I could, starting with a one-way ticket to London. In 2012 I had open-heart surgery—a triple bypass—blessed with a heart surgeon who gave me a second chance at life. I recently had a full, right knee replacement; rehab was long, labor-intensive, and painful. With major surgeries behind me, I’m not about to think about retirement. I’m thinking of more traveling, more adventure, more exploring. I never entertained a ‘lack of’ mentality. Never worried about lack of time, money, or other resources because instead of building a wall around myself, I allowed abundance to enter my life. Moving through life with a mentality of abundance, God sent me a tsunami wave to fulfill my dreams of travel, and I’m not done yet. If you were to ask me why travel became my compass or why I continue to want to pack up yet another suitcase, I look at today’s world around me and would answer with a sincere heart, “back in 1985 I finally risked letting go and that gesture opened a door that allowed abundance to rush in.” I was able to decide how to interact with the state I find myself in. I would rather live in this state of mind than have the feeling that things are never enough. Now, after my full recovery, I’ll be itching to get back my strength, perhaps a love partner will join me to share my journey with zest for immeasurable joy. If there is one thing I’ve learned in this life, it is as my doctor said to me one day before my knee surgery, “attitude is everything.” It doesn’t matter whether you drive a Mercedes or a Chevy, live in a mansion or a townhouse like mine, eat caviar or catfish. What goes on has a lot to do with what happens on the inside. The key to abundance, for me anyway, is RELEASE and see what happens next. In the past I’ve been pleasantly surprised at my courage to finally let abundance wrap itself around me and burst forth into my life, welcomed with open arms. Before this year officially ends on the calendar, I’ll grab my passport and think about my next adventure, the one that has invaded my dreams for the past 35 nights as I tried to get comfortable on my magical white couch. The dreams are leading me to a place where I must be brave. I love “Out of Africa” and the romantic vision of living in a house like Karen Blixen’s, perhaps close to three volcanoes. I also love coffee and I know coffee plantations thrive on the slopes of volcanoes. Freezing to death in winters in Maine the past 23 years doesn’t appeal to me, it never did. So I’m thinking out loud here about buying a ticket to Guatemala and sunny winter weather to take me in its arms, a cozy, up close and personal experience near the equator. Thin blankets at night. I can get a tan. I’m never going to be a little old lady traveling on one of those boring cruises. I prefer to be greeted with huge smiles from the locals, wearing colorful dresses. I want someone to teach me cool things, such as facts not listed in flashy brochures, and someone willing to just make friends with a stranger from Maine. If I am lucky enough to be in Guatemala this Christmas, it has to include a coffee tour in Antigua. Then there’s the Mayan Culture and Tikal or El Mirador could pique my interest; covered in a jungle atmosphere. My father lived in Cuba, not far from Guatemala (808 miles the way the crow flies). Why shouldn’t his daughter be curious enough to fall into his footsteps for this pure experience? One place that is definitely on my bucket list is Casa Jackson, where I’d love to volunteer and spend time cuddling, feeding, changing diapers, and to experience life-changing moments with tiny babies who need lots of love and emotional support. What doesn’t kill us does make us stronger. I’m ready for the next abundant chapter in my life. Carole Hemingway Carole Hemingway is an internationally regarded author, speaker, and historical researcher. She currently lives along the coast of Maine where she is writing a book about Gettysburg and waiting to publish another book about her father, Ernest.
Community Contributor: Little Free Pantries
Donating to a food pantry and getting food from one just got a whole lot easier in Bismarck and Mandan. Little Free Pantries have been popping up around town. Kimberly Dockter worked hard to bring these pantries to the area. She shares more about the project. Give us a little history of the Little Free Pantry Project. The Little Free Pantry began in Arkansas in May of 2016. Since that time it has been implemented in many locations throughout the country. We originally heard about this project shortly after its inception but kind of shelved the idea as we wanted to see how it would work in other parts of the country with similar demographics and weather. After watching for a time we decided it would likely be feasible in our community. The Little Free Pantry is similar to the Little Free Libraries in communities throughout the country, but instead of books, they host food and hygiene items. The concept is simple: leave what you can and take what you need. The Little Free Pantry is a free-standing program, with no real need for administration but in an effort to get the program up and running in our community, I contacted the Bismarck Public Schools Career Academy to pitch the idea of having one of their classes build some pantries. They jumped on board and were excited about the project. I hadn’t thought about the fact that they would ask how many. I honestly just hoped they would build one or two. So when they asked, I paused, said six, and then panicked once I was out of the building. At the time I only had one group fairly committed to hosting a box on their property. Through social media, some in-person networking, and some other media attention we have found locations for all six of the pantries as well as groups willing to help in keeping them stocked. How are the Little Free Pantries different from other food banks? The Little Free Pantries are available all hours, all days, with no questions asked for both those consuming the products as well as those leaving items. The pantries are not meant to be relied on as a guaranteed source for anyone, as supply is limited and inconsistent. We are hoping Little Free Pantries will not negatively impact those resources already available in our community. Rather, we hope that people will continue to give to the food pantries around town in addition to Little Free Pantries. How can people get involved? There are a few ways to get involved with this project: one would be to simply drop food or hygiene items at any of the locations or take what you need. It is our hope that this project will continue to grow by other businesses and organizations hosting pantries on their property. From this point, those of us at The Little Free Pantry Project (this includes my wonderful cousin Jen Bailey and me) will simply be promoting the use and stocking of the pantries through social media and at community events. We hope that as new Little Free Pantries pop up in our community their sponsors will let us know so we can add them to our information sites and publications. How can people contact you if they want to learn more? Join our group on Facebook at Little Free Pantry – Bismarck Mandan, like our page with the same name, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. What kind of donations would be most helpful? Donations of food and hygiene products are always needed. Some things to consider are boxed food, add-water meals, baby food, snack items, diapers, dental care, and feminine hygiene products. Pantries with high traffic are great locations to drop off a loaf or two of bread and a jar of peanut butter or canned items when seasonally appropriate. We know that people will make wise decisions about what they place in the pantries, taking into consideration weather conditions as well as the flow of items in and out at each specific Little Free Pantry. We will use the Facebook page and group to keep contributors informed about needs in each area. We have confidence that those hosting the pantries as well as others, both those using and contributing to the boxes, will work to keep them clean, and remove and discard items that have expired. What are your needs right now if someone would like to help? Fill the pantries, keep us informed if you see one empty, and remember to give freely. With this project we may need to stretch a bit in our thinking, knowing that once an item is given it is not ours to govern. We are leaving things in the pantry with the confidence that they are being taken by those who need them, even if what that looks like does not fit our definition of “need.”
Antibiotics Abound: Practice Being Good Stewards
by Dr. Shannon Sauter Over the past few decades there has been a global push to be better stewards of our environment. To care for the underserved and those unable to care for themselves. But who cares for our bacteria? Yes, bacteria. There is a medical concept called “antibiotic stewardship.” The goal is to use the most specific antibiotic for the least amount of time necessary. Antibiotic choice is based on type of infection and how well the medication works on that part of the body. By choosing the right antibiotics for the right illness we can reduce bacterial resistance to antibiotics. When we use antibiotics for all illnesses, whether necessary or not, resistance occurs. In turn, this leads to bacterial illnesses that are difficult to treat. There is an abundance of antibiotics available to the medical community. Along with this comes an urge to hasten illness resolution with their use. Providers and patients need to be aware of the consequences of overusing antibiotics every time a prescription is written. Some common illnesses that do not typically need antibiotics include common cold, influenza, sore throats that are not caused by strep species, pink eye, razor burn, dental pain, chicken pox, bronchitis, laryngitis, stomach flu, travel, ingrown toenails, and more. Although these illnesses can be burdensome, the main cause is usually not bacterial and so antibiotics may not be helpful. When bacteria are exposed to antibiotics they try to adapt and may develop the ability to resist the effects of the antibiotic. This effect will make the bacteria harder to treat in the future and may cause more severe infections. When illnesses occur, talk with your provider about the risks of antibiotics. Also discuss the likelihood of your symptoms being caused by bacteria and whether an antibiotic will help your symptoms. Viral illnesses will not be cured by antibiotics. Upper respiratory tract infections are one of the leading illnesses that are often improperly treated with antibiotics. Most upper respiratory tract infections, or common colds, are caused by viruses. The worst symptoms occur between day three and five of infection. Most people feel significant improvement by day 10. Focus on options with your doctor to relieve symptoms while you let the illness run its course. As always, severe infections—even if viral—may warrant hospitalization and additional medications. Always talk about what to do if illness worsens or doesn’t follow the expected course. If this occurs you may require different treatment. The best way to avoid most viral illnesses comes down to good hand hygiene and limiting exposure when you have an infection. We are fortunate to live in an era that has an abundance of medical treatments for a variety of diseases. Providers and patients alike have a responsibility to be good stewards of our medical treatments; to use the best treatments that cause the least amount of harm, not only to our patients but also to our environment. Dr. Shannon Sauter is a board certified Family Physician practicing at the UND Center for Family Medicine in Bismarck. Dr. Sauter specializes in caring for the entire family, with an emphasis in women’s health.