8th Graders Plan Awareness Raising Paddle for the Great Lakes
We are proud to support the grass roots, non-profit, Stand Up For Great Lakes in spreading the word about their work to increase awareness of the challenges that face the Great Lakes. They are driven by the beauty of these lakes and preserving enjoyment for future generations.
A group of 8th graders wanted to get involved and do what they can. They were inspired by Stand Up For Great Lakes and their upcoming 90 mile crossing of Lake Huron in June. They will attempt a challenging and symbolic 5 mile crossing of the Straights of Mackinac in April.
Here is their inspiring story and press release:
STAND UP FOR GREAT LAKES TO CROSS STRAITS WITH STUDENTS BY STAND-UP PADDLEBOARD TO RAISE MONEY TO HELP PRESERVE THE GREAT LAKES
(Elk Rapids, MI) — In late April, a group of Cherryland Middle School 8th grade students will attempt to cross the Straits of Mackinac by stand-up paddleboard. Their goal is to raise awareness and funds for a non- profit organization known as Stand Up For Great Lakes, a local charity that is dedicated to preserve and protect the lakes.
It all began with Cherryland Middle School’s (Elk Rapids Public Schools) International Baccalaureate 8th Grade Community Project program. Students Gordie Lafontaine and Kadin Patterson were inspired by their science teacher Kwin Morris’ tale of crossing Lake Michigan by stand-up paddleboard the previous summer. “ We heard about the paddle and how much money and awareness they (Stand Up For Great Lakes) raised and wanted to help make a difference too,” said Patterson “We love our lakes – the great ones and the small ones – and the opportunity to make such a significant journey across one of them would be amazing!”
The Challenge Ahead
Crossing the Straits is not an easy feat. Currents exceeding Niagara Falls along with below- freezing water are just a couple of the obstacles. Patterson, Morris and Lafontaine will be joined by other Lake Michigan paddlers Joe Lorenz and Jeff Guy of Traverse City. All are experienced paddleboarders and have been engaged in water-based activities for years. They are all physically fit and have been training and preparing for the crossing all winter. For safety, they will not be alone on the lake; the group will have a support boat shadowing them at all times.
“I could not be more proud of these young men. They really found a passion, set a goal and are working hard to attain it,” said Morris. “It’s also a great opportunity to raise some money for these lakes. They sustain our way of life and to draw attention to the significant issues affecting them.”
ABOUT STAND UP FOR GREAT LAKES
It began with a love of water. It will culminate, all going well, with five people successfully crossing the Straits of Mackinac by stand-up paddleboard to raise funds to help preserve the Great Lakes. The lakes are under threat. Oil pipelines of questionable integrity, invasive species, sewage leakage, pharmaceutical pollution, agricultural runoff, and others who choose to throw beer cans and cigarette butts wherever they please, the list of threats to these majestic and vital bodies of water is endless. We’re asking others to Stand Up for Great Lakes and provide encouragement to us on our arduous journey.