In January 2013, leaders from ten faith traditions representing 250 congregations joined together to increase energy conservation and to establish community gardens across Northern Michigan.

EK Team

From Top left: Helen Grossman, Jewish/Jon Magnuson, Cedar Tree Institute/ Peter Andersen, Lutheran/ Charlie West, Methodist/ Paul Lehmberg, Buddhist/ Al Valentine, Presbyterian
From Bottom Left: Tom Merkel, Roman Catholic/ Jan Schultz, U.S. Forest Service/ Katelin Bingner, Lutheran/ Christine Bergquist, Methodist/ Kyra Ziomkowski, Project Coordinator/ Heidi Gould, Unitarian/ Elisabeth Zant, Lutheran
Front: Adam Magnuson, Lutheran
Not pictured: Susan Roell, Presbyterian/ Sari Embley, Unitarian/ Dennis McCowen, Bahai/ Elma Strom, Bahai/ David McCowen, Quaker

In October 2012, the Cedar Tree Institute was invited by the U.S. EPA to organize Earthkeepers II for 2012-2014. Interfaith efforts will focus on increasing energy efficiency in use and maintenance of buildings owned by 40 faith communities across the Upper Peninsula.

Along with this effort – energy audits, educational forums and mini-grants for faith communities – Earthkeepers II will build on a vision to establish and maintain interfaith community gardens. These gardens will be designed to preserve native plants, eliminate invasive species, and provide vegetables, herbs and fruits for food pantries and the wider community.

Thanks to Kyra Fillmore Ziomkowski who will be serving as Project Communications Coordinator and to our partner organization Delta Green, who will assist us with technical implementation. Special appreciation to Bishop Tom Skrenes from the Northern Great Lakes Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America who is serving as our key interfaith liaison for religious leaders along with Paul Lehmberg, priest of Marquette’s Buddhist community, and Bishop Alex Sample, from the Marquette Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church.


  • Presbyterian
  • Lutheran (ELCA)
  • Roman Catholic
  • Buddhist
  • Baha’i
  • Unitarian Universalist
  • Quaker (American Friends)
  • Jewish
  • United Methodist
  • Episcopal


  • Rev. Jon Magnuson, Project Director
  • Kyra Fillmore Ziomkowski, Project Coordinator
  • Rev. Charlies West, Religious Writer
  • Greg Peterson, Volunteer Media Liaison
  • Doug Russell, Energy Conservation Consultant
  • Obadiah Metivier, Web Master
  • Jan Schultz, US Forest Service, Botanist
  • Tom Merkel, Student EK Team Leader
  • Adam Magnuson, Student EK Team Leader
  • Katelin Bingner, Student EK Team Leader


During 2004-2009, Episcopal Bishop Jim Kelsey helped the Cedar Tree Institute coordinate a five-year interfaith initiative focusing on environmental concerns among religious communities across Northern Michigan. Key partners included leaders of ten faith traditions, the Lake Superior Watershed Partnership, the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, and the Nature Conservancy.

An Earthkeeper Covenant