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Two join Land Grant staff
23 December 2011
By Pat Aune, United Tribes/USDA Land Grant Programs Director

      Please welcome to the campus community two new members of the United Tribes/USDA Land Grant Programs, offices located in the Skill Center Building.

Land Grant Staff

      Licensed Nutritionist Cynthia Allery is now the Land Grant Programs Nutrition Educator. Cynthia is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa from Belcourt, ND. For several years she worked as program director/nutrition specialist for the Turtle Mountain Tribal Diabetes Prevention Program.

      Cynthia earned degrees in community nutrition from the University of North Dakota and addiction studies from Minot State University. Her daughter Amber is set to begin school at Bismarck High School in January.

      Colette Wolf says Aanii! (Hello!) as UTTC's new Horticulture Extension Educator. She is an enrolled member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Anishinaabe (LCO) and recently relocated to Bismarck from Livingston, MT.

      Colette's homeland is located on traditional lands in northern Wisconsin amid lakes and woods abundant with traditional foods and medicines. During her childhood, she says many families had big, bountiful gardens. "As kids, we enjoyed working in the gardens, snacking on fresh peas or roaming through the woods to find the good plum trees. Those early days of good, tasty foods and village friendships were the primary nourishment for my own desire to study plant science."

      In 1989, Colette earned a Bachelor's Degree in Horticulture Science from Montana State University in Bozeman, where she also worked for the grounds department maintaining the campus flower beds.

      Her long and diverse trail of experience in plant-related employment includes a summer with the US Forest Service in the Black Hills maintaining wildlife habitat, environmental consulting work protecting native plants across northern Minnesota, Wisconsin and the UP of Michigan, and independent landscape maintenance and design contracting in such diverse locales as Tennessee, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and Montana. Throughout she has developed her own values and style for sustainability, using Two join Land Grant staff By Pat Aune, United Tribes/USDA Land Grant Programs Director organic methods and promoting native, edible and medicinal plants. "From flowers to vegetables, shrubs, trees or wildflower meadows, I've had the chance to promote the traditional value of working in partnership with Mother Earth, giving back by planting native species, and respecting the circle of life by avoiding chemicals and toxins."

      In 1994, Colette returned home to LCO to care for her parents. During that time, she was executive assistant to LCO Chairman Alfred Trepania. "It was a great honor to work for the Chairman and the Council at a time when our casino was new and our revenues increasing. We worked diligently to create new enterprises and upgrade existing ones."

      Colette says she is very excited to be at UTTC. She looks forward to drawing on her life experiences to promote horticulture programs for all ages. She says she's honored to have the opportunity to combine the language of plant science with traditional values. "I hope to see fresh produce in all our school and home kitchens."

      Colette aims to build friendships through her work in the college's many educational gardens; preserve traditional seed; and provide vibrant, chemical-free fruits, vegetables and medicines to elders, veterans, disabled and families. One day she hopes UTTC will have a college farm, a greenhouse, horticulture degree, youth programs, and student internships. She aims to create a network between the five governing tribes that supports food sovereignty for generations to come.

      "Gardens provide living food, but they also provide a place to learn for ourselves and with our children, a place to make friends, and a place to bring our hearts closer to Mother Earth who sustains us each and every day."


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