Keynote: Tasha Stielstra
Tasha Stielstra, co-owner of Nature’s Kennel Dog Sled Adventures in McMillan, Michigan, will discuss how her career “went to the dogs” Tuesday, Aug. 1 at 8 p.m. in Hoover Auditorium.
Tasha and her husband, Ed, have been involved in mushing together for over 10 years. After both graduated from Michigan State University, Ed was a production supervisor and Tasha was a teacher before deciding to pursue mushing full-time.
After living in Duluth, Minnesota, for several years, they decided to move to Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula, where they operate a distance racing kennel and a sled dog touring business.
Nature’s Kennel is one of the most popular attractions in the Upper Peninsula. There are several types of day trips, including 10-miles for all ages, 20-miles for ages 12+, an ice climbing/dog sledding package and a winter photography tour with a professional photographer, where you may see spectacular views of the northern lights. There are also overnight trips to the remote camp, Mushroom Village. There’s a yurt, which is like a circular tent that’s insulated and heated and a cabin that’s heated with a wood stove. The guides do all the cooking and the caretaking of the dogs. Guests can be as involved as much as they want taking care of the animals.
Ed is an eight-time Iditarod finisher and both Ed and Tasha have won Marquette’s UP 200 Sled Dog Race.
The Stielstras own 150 dogs, and Tasha is bringing one (Radar) with her and a sled to Lakeside for her keynote. She will talk about their history, the equipment they use, some of the commands, opportunities for dogsledding in Michigan and other topics during a family-friendly presentation. Both have won numerous humanitarian awards for their outstanding dog care.
Their dogs are well known not only for their excellent race history and pedigrees but also for their outstanding personalities. Their dogs are extremely well-socialized and get to visit with hundreds of adults and children each year.