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Itasca Waters to explore wild rice in June webinar

Clyde and Stacey Weaver harvest wild rice Aug. 23, 2023, at Flowage Lake in McGregor. They've been harvesting wild rice for about 30 years.
Lorie Shaull
Clyde and Stacey Weaver harvest wild rice Aug. 23, 2023, at Flowage Lake in McGregor. They've been harvesting wild rice for about 30 years.

Darren Vogt and Marne Kaeske from the 1854 Treaty Authority will speak about the cultural importance and biology of wild rice at the June 6 webinar.

Wild rice is called manoomin in the Ojibwe language. The word can be loosely translated to mean “good seed,” “good berry” or “spirit food.”

Darren Vogt, resource management division director at the 1854 Treaty Authority and Intertribal Resource Management Agency, will be presenting on the topic of wild rice as part of Itasca Waters Practical Water Wisdom webinar series. He'll be joined by his co-worker and cultural preservation specialist Marne Kaeske.

Itasca Waters' free webinar on wild rice is Thursday, June 6 at noon.

According to the 1854 Treaty Authority, the Intertribal Resource Management Agency protects and implements the off-reservation hunting, fishing and gathering rights for the Grand Portage and Bois Forte bands in the lands ceded to the United States government under the Treaty of La Pointe, 1854.

During the webinar, Vogt and Kaeske will talk about the cultural importance, biology, conservation and harvest of wild rice, as well as education and outreach efforts that further work to preserve this resource for future generations.

In a conversation on the KAXE Morning Show, Vogt explained the habitat of wild rice as 1-3 feet of water that is moving, not stagnant, with a soft, mucky bottom. He explained that a good wild rice lake at the end of the year can look like a wheat field.

In June and July, wild rice looks like leaves on the surface of the water.

"Right about now it's starting to reach that floating leaf stage where it's going to float in a long ribbon,” Vogt said.

One of the main things Vogt wants people to know is that wild rice is sacred.

“Be aware of what wild rice looks like and where it’s found," he said. "It’s not a weed, it’s an important plant.”

Also important to the conversation about the future of wild rice is how the changing climate is having an effect.

"Wild rice is at the edge of its habitat here, and we're getting shorter winters, less ice cover,” Vogt said.

You can register for the webinar here. Listen to Jennifer Barr's conversation with Vogt above.

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Jennifer has worked at Northern Community Radio since 2006 and spent 17 years as Membership Manager. She shifted to a host/producer position in 2023. She hosts the Monday Morning Show and is the local host of National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" a few days a week. She also writes public services announcements and creates web stories.