Monday, May 19, 2014

Portage Library to host sailing family working for climate change awareness May 21, 22

HOUGHTON -- This Wednesday and Thursday, May 21 and 22, The Portage Lake District Library will host events about climate change on Lake Superior as seen through the observations and research of Mark and Katya Gordon, who own and operate an adventure sailing business based out of Knife River, Minnesota.

Here is a schedule of the events:

Wednesday, May 21:

1 p.m. to 3 p.m. -- The Portage Lake District Library invites homeschooled youth and their families to participate on a grand adventure exploring a 40' sailboat while learning about climate change on the Great Lakes and participating in activities that contribute to a lower carbon footprint.

Activities include a brief discussion about climate change, how it affects our region, and why it is a problem. Participants will also take a carbon footprint quiz, make a nature journal, transform an old t-shirt into a handy cloth bag, and play an active game outdoors that demonstrates our interconnectedness to the earth. Participants are asked to please bring a t-shirt.

Everyone will be invited to go aboard the Gordons' sailboat and explore it inside and out. Kids will learn about sails, rigging, steering, solar and wind power, GPS, the galley, and the head. Their boat, the Amicus II, will be docked just past the west end of the library.

Katya and Mark Gordon homeschool their children Cedar (11) and Lamar (9), and they have lived and cruised on sailboats for over a decade. They started a school aboard their boat for youth who want to travel with them as they research the effects of climate change on the Great Lakes. Their trip is titled "Sea Change" to highlight the effects climate change has already brought to our "sea" and to foretell the cultural shift that is taking place surrounding the urgent issue of climate change.

7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. -- On Wednesday evening the Gordons will present "Sea Change: Addressing Climate Change on Lake Superior," sharing their sailing stories through pictures and video. This presentation is open to everyone.

The Gordons have sailed to the Bahamas and back twice and completed numerous sailing voyages on Lake Superior with their two children, logging thousands of miles on their 40-ft. steel sailboat, the Amicus II. They will discuss their observations and studies on climate change and present ideas for those who want to become involved in building awareness around this issue.

Thursday, May 22:

9 a.m. to 3 p.m. -- Everyone is invited to an Open House aboard the Gordons' sailboat for a tour of the boat and an opportunity to learn about sustainable sailing and climate change on Lake Superior. Their boat will be at the Houghton dock west of the library.

4:15 p.m. -- The Gordons will show a 42-minute film called Do the Math, which is a fast-paced and inspiring film about the rising movement to solve the climate crisis. This will be followed by a discussion on how people can learn skills that drive change. They will share information about the Citizens' Climate Lobby and explain how that organization works with Congress to build common ground and advance effective energy policies. For more information about the film, visit

Captain Mark Gordon has more than 25 years experience directing wilderness programs and leading wilderness trips for people of all ages. He has been a licensed Captain and EMT for 20 years and currently holds a 50 Ton Masters license. He has climbed, sailed, hiked and canoed throughout North America. He bought his first sailboat in 1985 and has been sailing ever since.

First Mate Katya Gordon is a lifelong sailor and veteran of outdoor wilderness experiences and has led trips in mountains, lakes, deserts, rivers, and oceans. She is an advanced facilitator and trainer in restorative justice, restorative processes and circle keeping.

Mark and Katya Gordon and their two children have lived and cruised on sailboats for over a decade and have sailed well over 15,000 miles on Lake Superior and beyond. This year they expanded their sailing program and onboard classroom for young adults to include bringing climate change information, knowledge, and ideas that inspire action to people they meet onshore.

All library programs are free and everyone is welcome. For more information, please call the library at 482-4570 or visit

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