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Great Lakes Summer Discovery Cruises
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For the 12th summer, Michiganders and visitors to Michigan can enjoy an opportunity to learn about the Great Lakes by being on the Great Lakes. Michigan Sea Grant and Michigan State University Extension present Summer Discovery Cruises in partnership with the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority.


Source: Michigan State University Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Learn about the Great Lakes by being on the Great Lakes: Michigan Sea Grant and MSU Extension begins 12th season of Summer Discovery Cruises


For the 12th summer, Michiganders and visitors to Michigan can enjoy an opportunity to learn about the Great Lakes by being on the Great Lakes. Michigan Sea Grant and Michigan State University Extension present Summer Discovery Cruises in partnership with the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority.

Summer Discovery Cruises began in 2001 with support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and DTE Energy. Since that time, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have joined in supporting the Summer Discovery Cruises, which have instructed nearly 10,000 informal learners in southeastern Michigan. Cruises depart from Lake Erie Metropark for the lower Detroit River and Lake Erie, and from Lake St. Clair Metropark to cruise Lake St. Clair.

Steve Stewart, the senior educator with Michigan Sea Grant Extension who directs the program, said Summer Discovery Cruises have been very successful in enhancing Great Lakes literacy – the understanding of the Great Lakes’ influence on people and their influence on the Great Lakes.

“The many cruise themes allow us to explore a wide variety of topics relating to the lakes,” Stewart said, “from science, technology and the arts to natural and cultural history. We are pleased that participation has grown each year and that we draw from a large geographic area.

“Our program evaluations demonstrate that participants both enjoy and learn from these unique educational opportunities, develop a sense of personal responsibility for our invaluable lakes and, in many cases, engage in new stewardship activities following their learning experience.”

The 2013 season offers more than 25 educational cruises around themes such as fisheries, wildlife, wetlands, shipwrecks, lighthouses, weather and shipping. This summer’s cruises are:

Lake St. Clair Fisheries -- This is not a fishing cruise, but it definitely is a fishy cruise. Participants will learn firsthand about the fish in Lake St. Clair, many of which will be available for hands-on examination. The cruise will join a Michigan DNR fisheries biologist and rendezvous with a research vessel to observe fish tagging, measuring and other research operations.

Warfare on the Waterfront -- The War of 1812, World War II and even the American Civil War all shaped the Detroit River and western Lake Erie. Long after the end of hostilities, remnants of this military presence can still be found. Join an interpreter for an in-depth look at these conflicts, their sites and stories, and see how they affected the region and the world.

Shipwreck at Sugar -- Just under the waves off a crumbling Sugar Island dock lie the remains of a vessel that sank in 1945. Travel with our resident historian to the wreck site to learn about the S.S. Seabreeze, the story of how it got there and the circumstances surrounding its mysterious sinking.

Eco-Art – This cruise explores the Great Lakes in a new way – through eco-art. Participants will learn about the Great Lakes ecosystem and combine elements of it with their imagination to create unique works of art to take home. The cruise promises to be both fun and educational. No prior art experience is needed. All materials will be provided. Wear clothes that allow you to get messy.

Birds, Boats and Booze (4-hour history cruise) -- Many things brought people to the St. Clair River Delta Flats area. The abundant wetlands brought duck hunters and anglers. Wood boats and passenger steamers brought tourism and recreation, and Prohibition brought rumrunners and speakeasies to the region. This cruise in "the flats" and up the South Channel will spotlight the past with stories of the big hotels, Tashmoo Park, Chris Craft boat building and more.

All Aboard Kids Cruise – Here’s a chance to learn some sailor talk (the good kind), rope work, a few pirate skills, anchor haulin’, deck swabbin’ and depth soundin’. Kid cruisers will even get a chance to pull up some of the finest bottom muck they’ve ever laid eyes on. It will be a fun and educational journey through time and place. (Parents are welcome — if they behave.)

Most cruises are 2 to 2.5 hours in length, with longer cruises lasting 4 to 6 hours. Tickets for shorter cruises are $20 for adults and $10 for children ages 6 to 17. Tickets for longer cruises are $25 for adults and $15 for children ages 6-17. Special discounts on certain cruises are provided by funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

To learn about the Great Lakes by being on the Great Lakes, visit the Summer Discovery Cruises website for complete cruise descriptions, locations and schedule, as well as directions on registering.