All Hands on Deck's Embrace of the Great Lakes

The day before the 4th of July we were treated to the sight of 45 engaged citizens at Cleveland Metroparks Wendy Park participating in All Hands on Deck, a first-time, pop-up event where over 2,000 people from 70 communities in 6 states and Ontario linked hands and boats along the Great Lakes shores to raise awareness of the need to protect the Lakes

"The intention was to bring people together in an expression of unified concern about something we all can agree on” said All Hands on Deck organizer Kimberly Simon. “We all want to care for our Great Lakes. They’re facing so many threats – invasive species, pipeline leaks, waste disposal and many other types of pollution, diversion, erosion, possible funding cuts for research and maintenance programs and staff – the list goes on and on. Whether people are residents of the Great Lakes Basin, or business owners, leaders and policymakers, visitors or vacationers, everyone has a stake in sustaining the vitality of our Great Lakes.”

Photographs from All Hands on Deck at Cleveland's Wendy Park

Northeast Ohio Sierra Club Water Committee Chair Fran Mentch shared some thoughts on what people can do to make a difference for the Great Lakes. "Do something little yourself"

Simon added "This event brought out the best of who we are as a region and a brought out our Midwest values, lifestyles - how we come together as families and towns and how our culture is reflected through simple lifestyles filled with time at the shore, listening to music, sharing drink and food together, sitting around the table or living room or deck sharing stories. From the cities handholds to the rustic backwoods cabin shorelines handholds in each state, if you took away the names of the locations, you wouldn't have been able to tell which communities they were, because we have more values in common than not...and water unites us all. That makes is even more important than ever to protect the fund for the Great Lake Restoration Initiative (GLRI), that protects the life in this region"

Simon says she will have information to post letters, e-mails, and phone messages to the U.S. Congress to support the funding in the budget for the GLRI. Check for further details: