Natural Connections, formerly Integrative Health Resources, was formed in the summer of 2005 when two like-minded Marquette groups, The Holistic Connection and the original Integrative Health Resources met and discovered they were on parallel paths, each with visions of connecting our local community with integrative practitioners and services.
The seeds to The Holistic Connection were planted in the spring of 2004. After months of planning meetings, core members; Barb Dupras, Frank Jeffries, Diana Oman, Lorraine Schwarz organized The Holistic Connection and by November 2004 hosted their First Holistic Buffet. The event was a total success and many “buffets” followed, as practitioners held monthly forums held at the Ramada Inn. Attendees experienced a wide variety of informative presentations and demonstrations by area practitioners throughout 2005.
At about the same time, Integrative Health Resources, a Michigan Nonprofit Organization was formed to help educate the general public regarding the latest advances in the field of integrative health. Core members included: Cindy Engle, Darlene Gill, Val Holoway, Jenny Magli, Kathleen Ventre. The main goal was to enhance integrative educational opportunities in our area through educational workshops and informational events. A very successful women’s health forum was presented in November 2004, and a dynamic presentation by David Brownstein, MD., at Northern Michigan University in 2005.
The merger of our two groups was a natural progression as both groups held the common vision of health education in the area of integrative and holistic medicine, as well as the development of a future wellness center in Marquette. Life Coaches, Debra Russ and Gareth Zellmer, generously offered their services and facilitated our successful merger.
Our two groups formally combined under one name, Integrative Health Resources, and a charter board was created on September 20, 2005. Our forums moved to the Peter White Public Library for 3 years; we hosted a workshop by nationally known author, Gary Renard; and we hosted numerous Spring and Fall Holistic Health Fairs, taking on in 2006 the event begun in 2000 by Roslyn McGrath with the help of Sam Crowley, Barb Dupras, Mary Jane Johnson, Kevin McGrath, and later, Kim Nixon Hainstock.
We also created a website presence and a hard copy U.P. Holistic Practitioner Directory.
Eventually, our board members revealed a fresh new direction for IHR, including a new name… and with that transformation, on March 12, 2011, the sun set on IHR… and the sun rose on Natural Connections.
Since that time, our annual Spring Holistic Health Fair has taken off, growing steadily to over 40 vendors and over 600 attendees!
We are excited for what lies ahead as we continue to find creative ways to bridge our community with alternative health care options!