Making Lake Michigan Great Educational Tour
The Lake Michigan Forum partners with the Grand Valley State University (GVSU) Annis Water Resources Institute (AWRI) on the Making Lake Michigan Great on-board education tour. The Making Lake Michigan Great tour is aboard the research vessel, W.G. Jackson, a 65-foot specially designed outreach and education vessel of the Annis Water Resources Institute. The Jackson takes out over 5,000 people per year on educational cruises. The tour is entering its 14th year, with 31 ports of call in Lake Michigan.
The purpose of tour, which is funded by the EPA’s Great Lakes National Program Office, is to spread the word about the Lake Michigan Lakewide Management Plan (LaMP) for Lake Michigan and gather input on lakewide issues from the public at the various ports of call. This is done in a variety of ways through water quality sampling cruises, open houses on the vessel, exhibits, and public meetings. Local contacts at each port coordinate the programs and take registrations for the cruises. There is no charge to participants on Jackson cruises.
The Jackson science instructors and crew, in cooperation with local hosts, provide the program for the cruises on the tour. Generally, there are three to four 1 ½ hour cruises a day for groups of up to 30 adults and children age 9 and above. On cruises, participants experience hands-on science as they sample and analyze lake water. There are presentations about the Lake Michigan Lakewide Management Plan, the U.S. EPA Lake Michigan Forum, and local issues of concern. On the vessel are informational handouts for the public and some space for displays from local groups. The 2008 LaMP update is highlighted on the tour (http://epa.gov/greatlakes/lamp/lm_2008/).
Information gathered on the tour about lakewide concerns helps the Lake Michigan Forum with its mission, which is to be a public input group to the U.S. EPA’s Lake Michigan efforts. For more details about the tour, contact Dr. Janet Vail, GVSU-AWRI Associate Professor and Co-Chair, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Lake Michigan Forum, [phone: (616) 331-3048 or firstname.lastname@example.org].