Mud, A Partnership, and Lots of Growth

From time to time, ISEA will share Great Lakes experiences from guest bloggers. In this blog, a previous education intern, Teresa Noah, shares how she grew through her experience with ISEA. Email if you would like to submit a Great Lakes experience to be featured.

During my first semester at Northwestern Michigan College (NMC), my Wetland Science course went on a field trip to Suttons Bay to sail on the schooner Inland Seas. On that sail, I knew I had to learn more about the organization and see how I could work for them. The hands-on experience excited me, but I think what really sealed the deal was when the PONAR grab opened up and lots of lake bed mud went all over my shoes. 

Teresa teaching students at map station to further their growth
Teresa (right) teaching the Map Station

That following year, I participated in a new partnership between Inland Seas Education Association and NMC. This partnership provides internships for students in NMC’s Freshwater Studies program as well as educators for Inland Seas’ programs. I was excited to apply and got the education intern position for the 2021 Spring Schoolship season.

I was part of the programming that had to adapt to COVID. We delivered a Ship and Shore program where classes were split in half, swapping halfway through. I learned and taught three stations which were the Great Lakes Mapping Station, Wetland Exploration, and Seamanship. 

I can still remember my first official day of programming. It was a chilly May morning and I was instructing the map station. It was my first time working with kids so I was very nervous. As I kept instructing, group after group, my nerves melted away and I felt an excited confidence I had not felt before. Working with children and inspiring love for the Great Lakes became something I looked forward to each day. 

Later in the season, I was on a sail instructing seamanship. That sail had only seven students, so I had some extra time to really take in the surroundings and just how happy I was to be there. Sometimes when I am engrossed in instructing, the beauty surrounding me gets a little lost. 

Inland Seas created an amazing environment for me to learn and grow. I became much more confident in my communication skills along with learning how important going with the flow is to having a successful program. Not everything goes according to plan and that is okay. The staff and volunteers are all incredible and want to see me succeed. I am very appreciative of them and the mentorship I have been given. 

After my internship, I transitioned right into a volunteer and am loving every minute of it.

Teresa Noah was a 2021 Northwestern Michigan College intern for Inland Seas Education Association. She is from the Chicago-land area but Michigan is a second home. When not taking courses or volunteering for ISEA, she likes to swim and paddleboard in West Bay. To learn more about interning with ISEA, contact Jillian Votava at

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