2023 Blog Post Review

The 2023 blog post review is a collection of some of our favorite blog posts from throughout the year. Feel free to enjoy an old favorite or find something you haven’t seen before. If you would like to contribute to a blog post in 2024 please reach out to Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Harrison at hfischer@schoolship.org.

What I’ve gained at Inland Seas

In 2017, I had just finished my freshman year at the University of Michigan with an undecided major and was wrapping up a summer at U of M’s Biological Station in Pellston. An extension of my Limnology course at the Biostation brought me to Inland Seas. As we set sail on a three-day journey from Petoskey to Traverse City, I felt a spark within me. While I was already accustomed to the science equipment, data collection procedures, and living closely with my classmates, doing it all on a schooner was new and exciting!

I remember leaving the ship feeling like I had accomplished something meaningful. 

As a scientist, I helped contribute to the knowledge we have about the Great Lakes. We collected real, novel data! I fell in love with field-based aquatic science onboard Inland Seas and ended up dedicating the remainder of my formal education to that. However, when I look back on that trip, the memories that stand out the most are centered around life on the ship. My main takeaway was thinking “How do I get back on that boat?”

I Call it Joy

If the summer volunteer crew adventure wasn’t enough, I jumped at the chance to try my luck as a volunteer educator when Inland Seas returned to Detroit in the fall.  I’m all in on the mission of ISEA: to inspire a lifetime of Great Lakes curiosity, stewardship, and passion in people of all ages.  And, I’m especially grateful for the opportunity to bring that mission home (at least it’s starting to feel like home), to learn more about the Detroit River, and help inspire young people here to be sailors, scientists, and stewards in the place they call home.  
These days, we all need a little hope.  And, we need connection.  If we’re going to have any chance of a future on this earth, we’re going to have to love her much better than we have been.  I’m grateful for all the ways ISEA gives hope, connection, and the inspiration to love the Great Lakes better… all while sailing aboard a majestic vessel.  And, I’m so excited to be a part of it.  I definitely call it joy!

The Experience of Retirement

Retirees have a well-established beachhead at Inland Seas.  The formerly-employed can be found in every type of voluntary role, from maintaining grounds, to teaching lessons, to helping around the office.  I’ve found a niche as a crew member, helping to sail the boat while volunteer instructors lead lessons for students and guests. In this little blog post, I will talk about how I connected with ISEA and how meaningful that connection has become.

I spent most of my working life as an educator, starting in migrant education in the Midwest, then teaching primary grades in Colorado, then serving as a principal and administrator before moving on to teach graduate school in Pennsylvania.  That last position was my Goldilocks job: the balance of teaching, serving high-poverty school districts as a consultant, conducting research on the power of mentorships in the development of school leaders, and serving on university governance committees was just right for me.   I was proud to help create a very successful doctoral program for current and aspiring school leaders, with an emphasis on developing equal opportunities for school-age students in low-economic and underserved communities.  

Spring Schoolship: A Season in Review

I started work with ISEA in mid-April of this year and I cannot believe that the Spring Schoolship season has reached its end already! One thing that immediately became apparent to me when I started program delivery was how much of an upper hand we, at Inland Seas, have compared to many other outdoor education programs.  In my personal experience, it is truthfully quite rare to have kids, especially middle school and high schoolers, express interest in the topics we’re discussing or ask insightful questions based on the educational material.

There might be a couple of students that are especially engaged or curious, but for the majority of the class, educators put forth a lot of effort to instill a sense of genuine curiosity and passion for the subject they’re teaching. In my brief, yet immersive, time aboard S.V. Inland Seas, every class has been incredibly excited to get on the ship, find fish in our trawl, put up the sails, and learn everything about why the Great Lakes are the 8th wonder of the world. For the past several weeks, I have fallen in love with the mission of Inland Seas, and I have gotten to meet so many wonderful people that embody that joy for the Great Lakes. 

Alliance Journal Leg #2

Alliance approaching Adams and Knickle

June 22, 2023
A beautiful morning in a beautiful town – Lunenburg, NS. This is a UNESCO World Heritage site the North American historic heart of the cod fishing industry. We made contact at the Adams and Knickle dock to find out where Alliance would be tying up, and then explored until the welcome sight of those three masts rounding into the harbor later that morning. Once secured to the dock, the arriving crew made quick use of the showers and laundry. The van soon departed with a few crew for the return trip to Suttons Bay, and the pickup stayed to help reprovision the boat for the next leg. Captain Ben decided that the crew could use a good night’s rest and set an early departure time for the next morning. The people in Lunenburg were fascinated to hear the story of ISEA and Alliance. Even in modern times, the folks are deeply connected to the sea, and supportive of our mission. The welcome they extended was warm and sincere – we could have stayed for days.

Learning the Ropes (Or Shall I Say Lines)

A brief introduction: I’m Meghan, and my fancy title this summer was Great Lakes Waterways Education Intern. My time at Inland Seas was nothing short of extraordinary, and my love for this organization extends deeper than the Deep Spot in the middle of Suttons Bay. Rarely have I immersed myself in a position where I felt so focused and energized to learn. That position is nothing without the ISEA office staff, volunteers, and crew. You all made me want to show up to work with a smile and extend my passion to new generations of Great Lakes stewards. In my future, I hope I spread the same empathy and energy you offered me as I got my sea legs.

I remember stepping off my first wet run with a ridiculous grin on my face – my hands were numb, yes, but I was in a new place with new people, and whether I liked it or not, I was here to stay. I chose to like it.

These blog posts are written by a variety of authors with a wide range of connections to Inland Seas. If you would like to contribute a blog post, please reach out to Harrison at hfischer@schoolship.org

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