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3M donates to help protect Indian mounds

By Kristen Bishop
kbishop@decaturdaily.com 340-2443

OAKVILLE — A $20,000 donation from the 3M Foundation will help protect two of the few remaining American Indian ceremonial mounds in Lawrence County.

The Oakville Indian Mounds, an 83-acre site owned by the Lawrence County Board of Education, is home to the Oakville Ceremonial Woodland Mound and the Copena Burial Mound.

The school board uses the ancient mounds and the education center there to teach students about American Indian culture and history.

3M's donation will help the school board pay off debt remaining from a 2006 land purchase to protect the mounds from future development, said Martha Cantrell, grant writer for Friends of Oakville Indian Mounds Inc. The nonprofit organization's main focus for the last year has been to raise money for the land purchase, she said.

The 3M Foundation, based in St. Paul, Minn., regularly donates to educational initiatives in the communities where 3M employees live and work, said Wayne Martin, the human resources manager at 3M Decatur. The emphasis tends to be on improving educational opportunities, he said.

'Foundation for success'

"We focus on education because it's the foundation for success," he said.

The company's Decatur operation has raised funds for Danville-Neel Elementary School, Calhoun Community College, The University of Alabama in Huntsville and others. 3M is also a partner in education with Austin High School.

"We're part of the community, so we like to pool the money into our community schools," said Martin. "We have 840 employees here. Most live in Morgan County, but a significant number live in Lawrence County."

3M's donation, along with the $80,000 from the Federal Highway Administration and $20,000 from the Daniel Foundation, brings the school board's remaining debt on the land to $20,000.

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