On May 1, 2021, three 8th grade students from Cherryland Middle School in Elk Rapids plan to standup paddleboard the treacherous St. Mary’s River.
Owen Werner, Max Ward and Jamie Peters will begin at the Soo Locks and end on their 50-mile journey on Drummond Island. Along the way, the students will encounter 600-foot freighters which create dangerously large wakes. The water will be bone-chilling cold at about 36 degrees and there may even be ice floating down the river.[
The trio plans on paddling this with Kwin Morris, their science teacher and co-founder of Stand Up for Great Lakes. Kwin has paddled four of the five Great Lakes with fellow co-founders Joe Lorenz and Jeff Guy. They will be accompanied by a safety boat with an EMT on board. Each paddler will be outfitted in drysuits and PFDs.
The group is paddling to raise funds and to raise awareness of the increasing levels of plastic pollution in the Great Lakes. All funds will be donated to Stand Up For Great Lakes, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the Great Lakes Basin.
“I fish these waters with my buddies, swim, boat, ski in them and much more,” said Jamie Peters. “They are a big part of my life and the lives of thousands and thousands more.”
“My goal is to inspire people around the Great Lakes to stand up for them,” added Max Ward. “The Great Lakes are crucial to the lives of every living thing in and around the lakes.”
“The lakes represent 84 percent of North America’s fresh water supply,” says Owen Werner. “My concern is that plastic particles as small as a pin head are getting into fish and damaging the habitat as well. Over 20 million pounds of plastic ends up in the lakes each year, and those numbers will only continue to grow.”
About Stand Up for Great Lakes
It began with a love of water. The group has crossed four of the five great lakes by stand-up paddleboard and has raised more than $80,000 to help raise awareness of the issues facing the Great Lakes. The lakes are under threat. Oil pipelines of questionable integrity, invasive species, sewage leakage, pharmaceutical pollution, agricultural runoff, and those 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 support and encourage us on this important mission.
To donate visit: https://standupforgreatlakes.