Voyageurs National Park is pleased to report the native plants are flourishing in the Ojibwe Ethnobotanical Garden. Prior to 2010, this one acre garden site was overrun with a non-native, invasive plant called reed canary grass. With the help of volunteers, including many from Voyageurs National Park Association, the site has been restored with native vegetation. Park visitors may now walk the garden paths and discover the diversity of native plants which have been vital to the Ojibwe Indian culture.
During the past two summers, volunteer couples have maintained the garden and lead daily tours. To date, more than 700 people have attended a garden tour. Visitors may also enjoy a self-guided tour using the new brochure and plant markers, which identify each plant and its traditional Ojibwe use. In 2014, the garden became an interactive setting for school programs. Local students engaged in hands-on learning about the lifestyles of Ojibwe Indians and the plants they relied on for food, medicine, and raw materials. Students also cooked traditional bannock, or fry bread, over the fire.
In order to continue connecting kids to the garden, a Junior Ranger Garden Explorer Book will be available starting this summer. Kids can complete the activity book while exploring the garden, review it with a park ranger, and become a Garden Explorer, complete with a badge. We hope this will give kids a chance to experience the garden in their own way. The garden continues to evolve into a beautiful, serene place where visitors can appreciate the native plants which help create the outstanding scenery of Voyageurs National Park.