Youth and adults learn about the wonders of the Great Lakes via themed cruises on Lake St. Clair, the Detroit River and Lake Erie.
Since 2002, more than 14,500 people have been introduced to the wonders of the Great Lakes through the Summer Discovery Cruises program. These educational cruises, offered on Lake St. Clair, the Detroit River and Lake Erie, are designed to stimulate an interest in the Great Lakes and help both young and old understand their influences on the Great Lakes, and the Great Lakes’ influence on them.
Developed as a companion to the Great Lakes Education Program, Summer Discovery Cruises are a collaborative effort between Michigan State University Extension, Michigan Sea Grant, the Huron-Clinton Metroparks, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and a number of program partners, including DTE Energy, Michigan DNR, the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, and the National Weather Service. Again this summer, more than 20 cruise themes will allow participants to learn about a wide range of Great Lakes topics.
Favorite cruises from previous seasons will be offered, plus some that are being added after a few years off the schedule. Learners will be able to explore the Great Lakes fishery (including the lake sturgeon – the largest fish in the Great Lakes), the use of Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs), coastal wetlands, Great Lakes lighthouses, shipwrecks, the Great Lakes’ influence on weather (you can ask National Weather Service scientists about the Polar Vortex, water spouts, weather balloons, etc.), how teachers can use Great Lakes science in the classroom, aquatic invasive species, and much more.
Evaluations of the Summer Discovery Cruises program have documented positive program outcomes that are both widespread and significant. Data show that 92 percent of participants felt a greater responsibility for the Great Lakes following their Summer Discovery Cruises experience, 71 percent sought more information on Great Lakes topics of interest, and 28 percent engaged in new Great Lakes stewardship activities.
The 2015 Summer Discovery Cruises season begins June 13, and registration is now open for both individuals and groups. For more information or to register, go to www.discoverycruises.org. And be sure to check out other opportunitiesMSU Extension and Michigan Sea Grant offer to learn more about our Great Lakes, such as through our 4-H Great Lakes & Natural Resources Camp.