Established in 1995, The Cedar Tree Institute is a nonprofit organization providing services and initiating projects in the areas of mental health, religion, and the environment. It offers mental health services on an individual basis, works with faith communities and environmental groups, and is currently involved in ongoing partnerships with the US Environmental Protection Agency, the United States Forest Service, and four American Indian tribes in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Register now for 2014 Spirit of Place Kayak Retreat

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Kayak Retreat 2013

Each year, the Cedar Tree Institute hosts one or more Kayak Retreats. This year’s focus is “Lake Superior: Water, Symbol, Soul.” We will be kayaking along 40 miles of remote Lake Superior shoreline. Evening discussions will focus on the writings of Flannery O’Conner, one of the finest American writers of the 20th century.

The retreat is limited to 10 persons. Registration is June 1, 2014. We encourage those interested to register as early as possible. This particular Institute offering fills up quickly.

Learn More

Larry Rasmussen

A Planet in Crisis: Religion, Ethics, and the Environment

Presented by the EK Interfaith Environmental Initiative in partnership with Northern Michigan University’s Student Earthkeepers Organization.

Larry Rasmussen, Professor Emeritus, Union Theological Seminary, New York.

Monday, March 10, 2014 – 7 P.M.
NMU’s University Center: The Brule Room, Marquette, Michigan


See the Earthkeepers II website for more information.

Winter 2014 Ecotone Newsletter is here!

The Winter 2014 Ecotone Newsletter is here!

Tai Chi 2013

Jacques Marquette: Legacy of a Black Robe

from Marquette Monthly December, 2013

By Jon Magnuson

Today marks our winter’s first snowfall. Late afternoon. I’m standing with a steaming mug of arabica from Dead River Coffee alongside a statue of Father Jacques Marquette, twenty-four feet high, cast in bronze, originally erected in 1897 near our city’s Lighthouse Park.

It’s one of three replicas, the first of which was commissioned by the Wisconsin Legislature for inclusion in Washington D.C.’s Statuary Hall. In 1913, this modest, elegant piece of sculpture, crafted by a little-known Italian-born artist, Gaetano Trentanove, was transported to its present site. The statue now perches prominently in a small picturesque park on South Front Street alongside our community’s Chamber of Commerce.

I’m here on a short break. I’ve been conducting an informal poll with passersby and a few local folks working in various shops and nearby public buildings. I ask the following three questions: What do you know about Father Jacques Marquette? Are you aware when he lived? Do you have any idea why (more…)

2014 Spring Tai Chi Schedule

2014 Spring Tai Chi Poster


Fall 2013 Equinox Newsletter

Lake Superior 2013

Seasonal Notes from the Cedar Tree Institute

I’m sitting at a table in the Falling Rock Café, an old wood-framed bookstore a block or two from a harbor in a sleepy mill town 40 miles east of Marquette. Townsfolk, university students, musicians and a group of organic farmers have gathered here for an evening of readings by local poets and essayists. The selected pieces are submissions for a short-story contest organized by the Falling Rock’s proprietors along with Lon and Lynn Emerick, respected naturalists of the Upper Peninsula, both published authors.

The writers here tonight represent a (more…)

2013 Fall Tai Chi Schedule

2013 Tai Chi Poster


The Cedar Tree Institute invites you to a Midsummer Celebration

The Cedar Tree Institute oversees many ongoing projects and works in collaboration with local and regional groups year round. The Midsummer Celebration is a way to bring together all the people who help make these projects and initiatives happen.

2013 Midsummer Celebration Invitation


Arctic Drums & Dreams

from Indian Country Today June, 2013

A brief journey in the spirit world of the Innupiat

By Jon Magnuson

Innupiat Spirit Mask

Innupiat Spirit Mask

The plane trip north from Seattle is always a memorable one, skirting along edges of jagged green forests, flying high over deep-blue emerald waters of the Inland Passage. We are now above the clouds as I page through a tattered copy of Anchorage, Alaska’s visitor’s guide, loaded with glossy back-country photographs, alluring images of glacial cruises, ads for world-class fishing resorts and weekend specials for upscale restaurants.

Beneath the surface of Alaska’s magnificent landscapes, her Arctic drilling controversies and media-blitzed Iditarod lie hidden worlds. Remnants of a fragile yet dynamic spiritual reality reside here, having sustained Native peoples who for thousands of years have lived on the edge of the Seward Peninsula. The history of the Innupiat is a saga riddled with the catastrophic impacts of acculturation, 20th century epidemics and the traumatic loss of traditional culture and values. It’s also a story of resiliency, economic savvy and precarious survival based on a spirituality that has sustained a 12,000-year-old subsistence culture. The state’s Department of the Interior identifies 11 distinct cultural groups, and 20 languages and dialects among its 120,000 identified Alaska Natives. Those of Innupiat and Yupik descent live mostly in communities scattered along the rim of Alaska’s Seward Peninsula and North Slope, a part of the world some geographers call the most physically inhospitable place on Earth.


Spring 2013 Equinox Newsletter

Snowy Forest 2013

Seasonal Notes from the Cedar Tree Institute

One blustery, overcast winter afternoon I sat with a retired Roman Catholic Bishop in his modest, comfortable, wood-paneled office. We talked about traditions of recognizing and blessing saints, acknowledging individuals who once lived among us and continue to shape the life of our respective faith communities.

In spite of long-held differences between Roman Catholic and Protestant understandings about such matters, we still found plenty of common ground. He and I talked at length about (more…)