Going to the Water Summer Stewardship Series

Inland Seas Education Association (ISEA) invites the public to engage with water through their Going to the Water Summer Stewardship Series. Opportunities to connect with water include social distancing activities and events, a video series, a virtual fundraising water challenge, and programs aboard the ship. Every activity has a stewardship focus to encourage the protection of water.

“Research shows that being on, in, or near water has many benefits,” shared Fred Sitkins, ISEA Executive Director. “The purpose of this series is to engage people with water and, while they are there, take time to reflect on the experience.” Research referenced by Sitkins comes from the book Blue Mind by Wallace J. Nichols. In his book, Nichols shows how water can improve performance, increase calm, diminish anxiety, and increase professional success.

Two social distancing activities will take place in June. On June 18th at 10:00 am, families are invited to participate in an in-person Family Water Healer event. A story will be read about a little boy who overcomes his fear of water and participants will be asked to share their personal connection to water through written or visual expression. The event is free, but registration is required as space is limited. The second event is a self-guided Leelanau Trail Water Hunt. Participants walking or biking on the Leelanau Trail can look for answers to water-based clues. Once the clues are solved, a mystery word will be revealed.

In July, the Going to the Water Summer Stewardship Series includes To the Water Challenge, a virtual fundraising event where participants engage with water, reflect on their experience, and share on social media. People can boat, paddleboard, swim, scuba dive, relax, fish, meditate, or do any other activity that is on, in, or near water (e.g., lake, river, pond, fountain, etc.). Registered participants will receive ISEA multifunctional headwear and qualify for awards.

“We believe people care for the things they love,” explained Sitkins when describing the Going to the Water Video Series to be out in July. Local celebrities are being interviewed at the water locations they love and will talk about how they care for that water. “Through all the events in the Going to the Water Stewardship Series, we hope people make the connection that they need to protect the water resources they enjoy.”

ISEA public summer sailing programs aboard the schooner Inland Seas will begin in August. Capacity has been reduced by 50% to accommodate for social distancing and safety protocols will be in place for crew, instructors, and participants. Program content will continue to be the same as pre-COVID-19, but may be delivered slightly different. Tickets are on sale now.

“With the additional time people have by not attending festivals and events, we hope this Series encourages them to get on, in or near water,” said Stephanie Rustem, ISEA Program Coordinator.

Inland Seas Education Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Suttons Bay, Michigan, dedicated to STEM education on the Great Lakes. Its shipboard and shore-side education programs are designed to inspire people of all ages to provide for the long-term stewardship of the Great Lakes. ISEA offers programs to schools, groups, and the public. For further information, contact Inland Seas Education Association at (231) 271-3077 or on the web at