Next Gen Schoolship Program

In Next Gen Schoolship programs, students work in small groups to collect samples from the lake, then teach each other what they learned in an upbeat, low-stakes round robin. Every student participates in hands-on learning stations to explore fish, plankton, the bottom of the lake (benthos), and water quality. A stewardship discussion is held at the end of the program.

Customize your experience with a Microplastics or Seamanship station!

  • Microplastics: Best for groups wanting to do more with Great Lakes science, and who want to connect personal action with Great Lakes health.
    • Students engage in an ongoing Great Lakes research project when they sample and examine microplastics. Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic found in our waterways and in the Great Lakes food web.
    • Students work out solutions for keeping plastics out of our waterways.
    • Most get to steer the ship.
  • Seamanship: Best for groups wanting hands-on experiences with physics concepts, and who want to connect Great Lakes shipping with economic and environmental well-being of the Great Lakes.
    • Students learn why some things float and other things sink (buoyancy), how a keel and ballast provide stability, and how rudders work.
    • Students engage in a discussion of the importance of Great Lakes shipping and the roles of ships and boaters in protecting Great Lakes health.
    • All students get to steer the ship.


Are you ready to book?

The schooner Inland Seas sails out of Suttons Bay, MI. Capacity is 32 passengers (children and adults). Use link to check available dates.

The schooner Manitou sails out of Traverse City, MI (Spring Schoolship season only). Capacity is 35 passengers (children and adults). Use link to check available dates.


Already booked your field trip?

We’ve compiled all the information you need for your trip in this one document. Please download or print for your reference.

Please have your students take this pre- and post-trip survey.

Please watch this Pre-Boarding Safety Instructions video with your students prior to your trip.

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