A Grand Opening and 30-Year Anniversary Celebration

The grand opening of the Capt. Thomas M. Kelly Biological Station will take place on Friday, June 21 from 4-7 pm. The $1.5 million renovation of the Inland Seas Education Association’s Suttons Bay campus at 100 Dame Street will be unveiled after a presentation by the Executive Director and a ribbon cutting ceremony. Attendees are encouraged to walk around the grounds and through the new dormitory space in the facility. All ages are welcome as there will be s’mores, hands-on science, and music by Song of the Lakes.

The facility is named after the late founder of Inland Seas Education Association (ISEA), Tom Kelly. Tom started ISEA in 1989 with a mission to protect the Great Lakes through education. He and a group of volunteers began a Schoolship program on the leased tall ship Malabar. Students learned about Great Lakes ecology, history, and stewardship. After 30 years, ISEA is still protecting the Great Lakes through education by inspiring curiosity, stewardship, and passion in a variety of programs. “We are very honored to be dedicating this facility to Tom,” said Fred Sitkins, Executive Director of ISEA. “The Capt. Thomas M. Kelly Biological Station allows ISEA to further Tom’s vision for another 30+ years.”

In celebration of ISEA’s 30-year history, each dorm room will contain a theme.

ISEA’s Reach: Maps and data of ISEA’s 125,000+ participants
People Who Make It Happen: 30 years of board members, volunteers, staff, and donors
Where the Impact Occurs: ISEA’s vessels and facilities over the past 30 years
Success Stories: Past students, teachers, and intern stories of how ISEA inspired them
The Science: Graphs and information about the science data collected over the years
Future Vision: Where do you see ISEA in the next 30+ years?
Continuous video of ISEA’s 30-years in pictures
In addition to the information presented in the dorm space and the hands-on science in the lab, attendees are encouraged to visit the schooners Inland Seas and Utopia at the dock, walk the wetlands, talk with the solar array ambassador, and check out the invasive species exhibits in the upstairs of the facility.

Artist Deborah Hecht will also be exhibiting her Beach Trash series. Her pieces are made entirely from the beach trash she collected in 2017 from the Lake Michigan beach where she lives. Proceeds from the sale of her artwork will go to ISEA.

More information about the Capt. Thomas M. Kelly Grand Opening and ISEA 30-year celebration can be found at