How they spent their summer vacation: swimming all five Great Lakes

How they spent their summer vacation: swimming all five Great Lakes
August 1, 2017 Mary Ellen Geist
Photo courtesy of Mary Ellen Geist

Looking for a last -minute family vacation idea before the lazy days of summer run out? There’s still time to do something your kids will never forget.

Why not follow the lead of the Teghmeyer family?

Suzanne, her 11 year-old son Elliot and 7 year-old son Leo, are halfway through an adventure that involves their favorite hobbies and favorite places: they are swimming in all five Great Lakes.

They started with Lake Michigan at Holland’s Tunnel beach. The next spot: a beach near Oscoda along Lake Huron.

They just conquered Lake Ontario – an hour swim there in the rain.

When I ran into the Teghmeyer family on a Michigan Sea Grant Summer Discovery Cruise, they were on their way to their 4th Great Lakes Swim in Lake Erie.

The final lake: Superior. They will plunge into the water near Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in early August.

Suzanne says this challenge has brought a new awareness of the Great Lakes not only to her own family  but to friends and colleagues. Suzanne says what’s shocking for her: some of the people she knows where she lives in Lansing, Michigan have never been to the Great Lakes before.

Suzanne says, “It’s a great way for my sons to learn more about our home state and the diversity and wonderful features of all five Great Lakes, and how amazing it is to be surrounded by so much fresh water.  We’re collecting sand from each of the lakes and comparing the differences. Some are rocky, some are sandy, some are a mix of both.”

Suzanne, who studied limnology (the scientific study of fresh water) in college before taking a job at Michigan State University’s library, says her kids seem to have inherited her love of water. And she says this summer of swimming the Great Lakes has only solidified their fascination with the lakes and their interest in the environment and ecology.


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