Discovery World, Fund for Lake Michigan, and other community partners hosted Love Your Great Lakes on February 10, attracting hundreds of youngsters who were eager to learn how they could become future innovators of freshwater resources.

The event was designed to inspire the next generation of freshwater stewards. It featured interactive educational experiences aimed at introducing the local community’s connection to fresh water, through local organizations that are instrumental in sustaining the Great Lakes.

“Love Your Great Lakes” offered maritime experiences for children and adults, including educational workshops, live animals from the Reiman Aquarium, and interactive booths and displays from local organizations making waves in the world of freshwater sustainability such as Port Milwaukee, WATERshed Program, Riveredge Nature Center, and the Mequon Nature Preserve.

The program also featured a special presentation by Milwaukee historian John Gurda and maritime photographer Chris Winters on Milwaukee’s freshwater culture and the history of Discovery World’s Tall Ship, the Sailing Vessel (S/V) Denis Sullivan.

“The original goal behind ‘Love Your Great Lakes’ was to help showcase how important the Great Lakes are to the health of our community,” said Discovery World President and CEO Joel Brennan. “Through events like this one, our entire community can come to better understand the value of our precious freshwater resources both now and into the future. Now, we hope to spread the idea of ‘Love Your Great Lakes’ beyond our doors to hopefully provide a fun and interactive way to educate and inspire the next generation of freshwater stewards and innovators.”

Launched in 2014 at Discovery World in Milwaukee, “Love Your Great Lakes” has helped increase awareness to the importance of the largest freshwater system on earth, and the organizations that make a profound impact on the health of Superior, Huron, Michigan, Erie, and Ontario.

The event was created in partnership with The Fund for Lake Michigan, a private foundation based in Milwaukee that has awarded more than $12 million in grants since 2011 to safeguard Lake Michigan and improve water quality in the region.

Seeking to expand the reach of the event, Discovery World partnered with the Port Exploreum in Port Washington, who held their own “Love Your Great Lakes” event on the same day, with additional musical activities at Studio 224.