Category Archives: North Star Student Writers

Food and the World – Family, Hospitality, Friendship Across National Boundaries through Food – by Cassie Mahlberg. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Food and the World – Family, Hospitality, Friendship Across National Boundaries through Food – by Cassie Mahlberg. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

[Fresh salad, plate of couscous with fried onions. First meal I cooked in Oslo]

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Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park – Michigan, U.S.A. – by Delaney Babich. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park – Michigan, U.S.A. – by Delaney Babich. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

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In the midst of our chaotic world, there are places where peace and solitude still exist, namely, within our national parks and landmarks. These lands and their keepers are devoted to the preservation of the exquisite natural beauty around us. I have been lucky enough to recently explore of one Lake Superior’s undiscovered wild gems, the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. My mom and I are avid camping girls, and she makes an effort to plan a trip to a new out-of-state park every year. We were drawn to this park due to its unique landscape and 90 miles of hiking trail options. Located in Michigan, the park expands over 47,671 acres of the Upper Peninsula, with a 35,000-acre chunk considered to be the “biggest and best tract of virgin Northern Hardwoods in North America”, and has been named a National Natural Landmark by the Federal Government.

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Wrapped in a cocoon of mossy hemlocks and curly paper-birch boughs, this is the forest primeval. Around 2 billion years old, these mountains are some of the oldest in existence. Named by the Ojibwa after the resemblance to a crouched woodland porcupine, the mountains that give this park their name are breath-taking. They arise suddenly from Lake Superior to form a 12-mile long escarpment, or what is more commonly called a bluff or cliff. At the top of this bluff you see forest and sky for miles, roughly 25 miles on a clear day. You will also see The Lake of the Clouds, a glacial lake carved out millions of years ago, filled with sparkling blue water surrounded by the dense virgin forest. Surrounded in silence, listening only to what the earth had to say, our time spent in this park will never be forgotten.

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Before this area was designated a park, it was a hot bed for copper mining. Over the course of 65 years, 45 copper mines operated somewhere within the boundaries of the park. After mining was through, loggers arrived and took their toll, but in 1972 the Wilderness and Natural Areas Act was passed, forever protecting the land and adding to the beauty of North America for our future generations to enjoy as we do now. The protection of our wilderness is not at the forefront of our issues as a country, but it should be. Without these spaces, we will lose part of our history as a human race. As one author eloquently put it, “All America lies at the end of the wilderness road, and our past is not a dead past, but still lives in us. Our forefathers had civilization inside themselves, the wild outside. We live in the civilization they created, but within us the wilderness still lingers. What they dreamed, we live, and what they lived, we dream.” — T.K. Whipple. Study out the Land. “Porcupine Mountains.” Michigan Department of Natural Resources. DNR, n.d. Web. 20 July 2016.


Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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New Zealand – Permaculture and the Environment – by Delaney Babich. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

New Zealand – Permaculture and the Environment – by Delaney Babich. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

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One of the most intriguing lessons I learned while studying abroad was the idea of permaculture, and its impressive success rate on the environment and the lives of the people who practice it. I wanted to share a couple of my favorite aspects, along with examples to further explain the ideas. Here are three of my favorites!

Use and Value Renewable Resources & Services

“Make the best use of nature’s abundance to reduce our consumptive behavior and dependence on non-renewable resources.” This is a photo of the papercrete used at Solscape. At this point in the tour, our guide was talking us through all of the sustainable practices they had and the principles of permaculture that they use. Papercrete is an innovative and splendid way to use the materials you have around you. By taking paper and re-pulping it and then mixing it with clay or cement, you come up with a sturdy, recycled, insulating and cheap building block for any new project. It costs less than regular building materials, teaches you to become a maker of things, lets you create your own design for any building and helps the environment because it doesn’t give off any toxins or emissions in the process of making it. This type of material was a theme throughout the trip, as we met many new age thinkers who were adamant about living sustain-ably. In a book called “The Good Life Lab” talks about living a de-commodified life, the author and her partner used the papercrete technique to build their house, shed and outdoor patio. She says it is so fulfilling to look at a structure and know you made it with your own two hands. That’s how I felt while looking at the two domes that Solscape had built. I tried to put myself in their shoes, and I was proud of what they had accomplished. Making a home out of the earth connects you back to where you come from, helps you appreciate your surroundings and gives you a sense of pride knowing that you are living in a home made from your own two hands.

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Produce No Waste

“By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.” This is the most intriguing and important principle of permaculture to me. The world is coming to a point where we are producing more than we have room to dispose of. This is true especially true in the US. We are home to 4% of the population, but contribute 30% of the worlds waste. What kind of numbers logic is that? Our group visited a non-profit called Extreme waste, a recycle and upcycle facility in Raglan. They are committed to the idea that nothing should go to waste, and that every item we believe is useless, really is not. They employ locals and accept volunteers, and open their doors to anyone who wants to learn more about upcycling. . The only problem is that many people have a stigma about used items. I don’t understand why, since all of the items I bought from Extreme Waste were in great shape and put a smile on my face. I believe we need to shift from being buyers of things, to makers of things. If we refurbish a chair or put two scraps of fabric together to make a shirt, we are happier with the result because of the hard work done, and by spending little to no money! I have so much respect for the owners Rick and Liz, because they saw a problem and they fixed it. They seem like gurus of the permaculture world, because their entire livelihood is based on the permaculture principles. All things have multiple purposes, we just need to get creative and dig into our minds to find out the endless possibilities for every object!

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Creatively Use and Respond to Change

“We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing, and then intervening at the right time.” Our visit to the Maungatautari Ecological Reserve is the perfect example for this permaculture principle. The environmentalists in New Zealand saw what negative change the introduced mammals brought to the native forests and put their minds together to come up with an extremely creative fence to regenerate the land and birds. I was impressed with the design; I have not seen anything like that before! They thought of every way a pest could get in and then blocked it. Having vision is not seeing things how they are, but how they will be in the future. The director Tom and his colleagues knew that if they didn’t do something soon, the land and rare birds would be gone forever. I admire their persistence and admiration for the land and their dedication to its preservation. This idea also ties back to what Keith, our host on the Marae, said about looking out for our future generations. The native forest is special and one of a kind in this world, and everyone should have a chance to visit. With practices like this, it is possible!

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Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In five semesters we have published 200 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. We are sponsored by St. Scholastica’s Department of History and Politics and by the scholarly Middle Ground Journal: World History and Global Studies (http://theMiddleGroundJournal.org).

For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.

Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Learning Through Song – by Tayler Boelk. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Learning Through Song – by Tayler Boelk. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

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[Source of image, see: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Edmund_Fitzgerald,_1971,_3_of_4_(restored).jpg]

Everything I learned about the Edmund Fitzgerald, a famous Great Lakes shipwreck, I learned through song. I can tell you how many tons of iron ore was on the ship—about 26,000. I can tell you where they were coming from—Wisconsin,- and where they were going—Cleveland. I can even tell you how many people died when it sank to the bottom of Lake Superior—29.

Song has been, and continues to be, a great method of learning. An excellent example of this is the children’s song “The ABC’s.” In the United States, this is how children learn the basic units of communication. Through song, they learn the letters used to build words for both speaking and writing. Language is an interactive and social process, and music is a natural way for children to experience this process in a pleasurable way. As schooling continues, learning through song remains present. School House Rock and Animaniacs were popular educational television shows that taught the continents, presidents, states and their capitals, parts of speech, and even more universal things such as countries of the world. Some songs are used to encourage cooperation and problem solving. The “Clean-Up Song,” for instance, was a popular one from kindergarten, teaching children that the best way to get work done quickly is to work together. While these are dominantly western examples, the great thing about music is that it spans across the globe.

Music exists in every culture. It varies in style, language, and message, but it is one of the most powerful ways of understanding the differences and similarities of others. It is universal in that music always speaks to the human experience. Even when we listen to music in languages we cannot understand, we receive a lasting impression of the challenges, sorrows, and joys of that culture. It is this emotional experience that really connects a listener with the music. This connection breaks language barriers allowing us to learn about other cultures and from others’ experiences. In addition, the rhythm and patterns of song can help us learn language easier. In a choral setting, I have much experience singing in foreign languages. Most of the learning was done through the active singing of the song. Sure, we learn things via lecture or reading but by simultaneously reading lyrics, hearing them, and actively singing them, we are processing the information in several ways rather than one at a time.

This applies to music in familiar languages by allowing us to quickly memorize the information through use of familiar patterns. You don’t have to be a music prodigy to recognize rhyming schemes or the difference between the chorus and verse. In our everyday experiences of listening to music on the radio, in movies, commercial jingles, or music classes we become familiar with these patterns. Singers and song writers take advantage of these patterns to tell stories or teach lessons. As I mentioned before, everything I know about the Edmund Fitzgerald I learned through song. Gordon Lightfoot’s song, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” is arguably the source of the ships fame. His song follows many traditional methods of storytelling including foreshadowing, similes, and contains a beginning, middle, and end. While this story could easily be told verbally, by putting it to song and adding additional literary techniques, such as rhyming and alliteration, it becomes instantly more memorable.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, a famous German writer, once stated that music is “the language of the heart.” While this is beautiful, I would argue that music is the language of the world. It brings people together from across the globe and helps them understand and enjoy each other’s culture.

Tayler Boelk serves as assistant editor for The North Star Reports.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In five semesters we have published 200 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. We are sponsored by St. Scholastica’s Department of History and Politics and by the scholarly Middle Ground Journal: World History and Global Studies (http://theMiddleGroundJournal.org).

For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.

Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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New Zealand – Maori Culture & Spirituality – by Delaney Babich. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

New Zealand – Maori Culture & Spirituality – by Delaney Babich. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

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[This is a piece of Greenstone, which holds mana, and its mana increases as it is passed down through generations. This rock belongs to Nga, who was our native guide during the trip. It is six generations old.]

One of the crucial parts to socialization requires understanding the perspectives of other people and their cultures. I was able to immerse myself in Maori culture while studying abroad in New Zealand. I gained a wealth of compassion & knowledge of people other than those I grew up with, as did everyone else in my group. We spent a weekend on a Marae, which is a native land where official tribal business, family functions and special events occur. Here we were introduced to a few traditional customs as well as spiritual practices. One example of a custom that intrigued me was a housekeeping rule at the marae. If anyone brought cups or bowls into the bathroom they are to be thrown away because the energy in the bathroom is not the same as the energy in the kitchen, and it upsets the natural balance of tapu. Tapu is a term describing certain restrictions in everyone’s life, and it was used as a way to control how people behaved towards each other and the environment. Everything also has a thing called Mana. Mana influenced the way in which people and groups conducted themselves, acting as a reference point for the achievements and successes in one s life. Similarly, is mana was attached to natural resources and inanimate objects could affect the behaviors of individuals and group. These are the two fundamental concepts that governed the infrastructure of traditional Maori society, and are interchangeable. They link each person to creation, and the history of ancestors. The aspect of history is detrimental to Maori culture. We were taught that knowledge and stories, all come from someone before us, and will pass through us onto someone else one day. Whether it be about food preparation, child rearing or specific spiritual practices, the Maori have kept their history alive via oral practices, rather than written ones. The leader of the Marae, Keith, taught us that every bit, every feeling, every word is important, and that it must be kept for those later to hear as well.

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A crucial characteristic to his teaching while we were there included the importance of spiritual knowledge. He says that spiritual concerns apply to all things. They are never obliterated and must be given full status and recognition. This concept is manifested out of their bond with nature, although it is much more than a bond. The Maori join all beings together; everything is connected into one independent whole, which relies on each of its parts to be healthy in order to keep thriving. It was eye opening to see an opposite way of thinking about life and the things in it, and to be welcomed into a community that desires to have their stories spread in order to keep a culture alive.

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Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In five semesters we have published 200 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. We are sponsored by St. Scholastica’s Department of History and Politics and by the scholarly Middle Ground Journal: World History and Global Studies (http://theMiddleGroundJournal.org).

For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.

Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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