Lake Huron conservation conference comes to Alpena, inviting Americans, Canadians, and Tribal people

What’s happening: The One Water Gathering conference is scheduled for Friday, June 17, and Saturday, June 18, in Alpena, but as the call for attendees suggests, the reach of the conference intends to stretch far beyond the city limits. Asked to join the One Water Gathering are “American, Canadian, First Nations and Tribal partners, municipal leaders, watershed groups, regulatory agencies, school administrators and educators, artists, writers, musicians and volunteers,” demonstrating that while Lake Huron may act as a border, it connects more than it divides.

What it is: The One Water Gathering opens at Alpena Community College on Friday, June 17, and features a day’s worth of presentations and workshops, which include “Cultivating a Community of Conservationists,” “Sustainable Finance,” “Effective Climate Change Communications,” “Green Infrastructure Engineering Approaches in the Great Lakes,” and more. A reception will be held that evening at the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center. On Saturday, June 18, attendees are invited to an optional beach clean-up event before being taken on a number of field trips. Those include a tour of the Besser Museum, a glass-bottom boat shipwreck tour, and guided hikes at Thunder Bay’s North Point Peninsula and Rockport State Recreation Area.

Registration for the conference, which costs $100 to attend, is available online.

Why it is: “The One Water Gathering welcomes anyone with a personal connection to Lake Huron interested in learning what they can do, individually or collectively, to steward this critical international asset,” says Abigail Ertel, conference organizer and Community Program Director with Huron Pines, the nonprofit responsible for facilitating Lake Huron Forever. “Our goal is to provide people with opportunities to build relationships, explore new perspectives and observe what’s already being done in shoreline communities to promote a healthy Lake Huron.”

Who’s involved: The One Water Gathering is hosted by Lake Huron Forever, an initiative launched in 2019 in a joint conservation effort from American and Canadian organizations alike, including community foundations from both sides of the lake.

What they’re saying: “Lake Huron Forever has built strong friendships and fertile partnerships between Canadian and American community foundations and the shoreline communities they serve,” says Stuart Reid, Executive Director of Community Foundation Grey Bruce in Ontario. “Our ongoing conversations about the stewardship of a healthy Lake Huron, and our interest in learning best practices for stormwater management, will ensure the One Water Gathering will be a change-making conference promoting learning, innovation and collaboration.”