“I love this alumni outing! I would probably not have come to
Sleeping Bear Dunes by myself.. I love this!”
~ Max, age 13, 2012 alum
By: Chad Burton, Michigan Summer Trip Leader
From June 23 to 25, Parks in Focus hosted an advanced alumni trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore for nine of its past participants (from 2009, 2011 and 2012) from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Newaygo County and other TrueNorth Community Services youth programs.
Participants spent three days camping at D.H. Day Campground, hiking, exploring and photographing the scenic Lake Michigan shoreline that Stewart L. Udall helped establish as a National Lakeshore in the early 1970s.
One of the highlights was attending two summer ranger programs offered at the Lakeshore. The first was Heroes of the Storm, a program where the kids helped NPS staff re-enact a shipwreck rescue at the Maritime Museum in Glen Haven. The second program, Photography Restores, included a scenic beach walk with a park ranger of Good Harbor, where participants learned some new photography tips and tricks. Other highlights included:
- Hiking the Empire Bluff Trail to a bluff reaching more than 400 feet above the shoreline to watch the sun set into Lake Michigan.
- Exploring the Windy Moraine Trail, where we learned about biodiversity while observing beech-maple forest, fields and a pine plantation.
- Crawling up the Dune Climb and running back down the dunes!
- Cooling off in the icy waters of Lake Michigan.
- Night photography activities where participants used glowsticks and a DSLR camera to create some interesting light paintings.
This alumni outing was made possible by a Summer Youth Initiative grant from the Fremont Area Community Foundation with additional support from the DTE Energy Foundation, the Michigan State University College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Alumni Association, TrueNorth Community Services and the Udall Foundation.