Friday, June 30, 2017

Join "All Hands On Deck" event July 3 in Houghton to help raise awareness of Great Lakes protection

HOUGHTON -- "All Hands On Deck" is a gathering at Kestner Park in Houghton from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Monday, July 3, to raise awareness of the need to protect the Great Lakes and keep them healthy. All are invited. Boats are encouraged to congregate in front of the park by 10 a.m. Local weather predictions promise it to be a sunny day.

This event will take place on the shore and on the water with boats linking along the shorelines in communities in every Great Lakes state and Canada. In the UP, there will be gatherings in Marquette, Menominee, and Drummond Island as well as on the Portage.

"Wearing blue is encouraged," said Horst Schmidt, co-organizer, with Susan Burack, of the Houghton event. "What is important is being there and linking with others. People are welcome to bring posters voicing their support for the Great Lakes, ongoing funding for removal of legacy pollution and maintaining a healthy lake ecosystem."*

Boaters may wish to bring a blue marble to share or a blue pennant to wave during this event of solidarity for the Great Lakes.

Participants in the All Hands On Deck events are invited to link hands on the beach and link boats on the water along the shorelines in communities in every Great Lakes state and Canada. (Poster courtesy All Hands on Deck Facebook page)

All Hands On Deck represents common ground that extends beyond political and geographical boundaries. Water unifies us all. In every area, the Great Lakes are essential to the environment, economy, and everyone’s way of life. The event is a way to come together in a unique, unified expression of concern on behalf of a precious resource that needs continuing attention and support -- funding, regulations, and research -- to sustain long-term vitality.

"What is the Keweenaw without water?" asks local co-organizer Susan Burack of Hancock. "All of us who live here need to show our support for protecting our part of the Great Lakes. We, on the south coast of the greatest lake, join together with people around Ontario, New York, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan for our part."

Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario together are the largest surface freshwater system on Earth; only the Polar icecaps contain more water. The Great Lakes contain 84 percent of North America’s surface fresh water, and 21 percent of all the surface fresh water in the world. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Great Lakes are "a dominant part of the physical and cultural heritage of North America."

This event, which is taking place in more than 50 communities, is the brainchild of Charlevoix, Michigan, resident Kimberly Simon, who conceived of All Hands on Deck in response to proposed cuts to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

*For more information click here or email Horst Schmidt at

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