Tag: Cherry Festival

Picnics with Less Plastic


In preparation for Cherry Festival and the warm days ahead, we wanted to highlight one of our favorite summer activities. For many, picnicking in a park or near Lake Michigan is a summer tradition. In keeping with our #getoffthebottle campaign and dedication to reducing our single-use plastic footprint, we've made some easy swaps to make your family's picnic zero waste. 

Happy picnicking!

Zero waste picnic

Before: sandwich, chips, pear, carrots, fruit salad, cookies, water

Typical picnic

Before: sandwich, chips, pear, carrots, fruit salad, cookies, water

 

After: Tupperware, reusable water bottle, cloth napkins, metal silverware

 

After: plastic wrappers, single-use plastic bags, single use-plastic water bottle, plastic silverware, paper napkins

We were really surprised at how much trash we generated from what we thought would be a pretty low-impact picnic. Some of these items can be recycled (bottle, some of the plastic containers), but it's not always easy to find a recycling bin, and often these items end up in the trash. We hope that these images make us think twice about our plastic footprint.

Tips for a zero waste picnic:

  • Plan out foods that don’t need a lot of waste.
    • Finger foods make great picnic fare! Sandwiches, crackers, cheese and meats, whole fruit and vegetables, cookies.
  • Bring an apple and an orange instead of a pre-cut fruit salad that you would eat with a fork.
  • If you do want a salad (greens, potato, pasta, etc), put it in a tupperware and bring your own reusable forks and spoons.
  • Be creative in packaging like putting chips or crackers in a tupperware container (versus a single use plastic bag), or wrapping items in a cloth.
  • Bring your own water bottle filled with water or a summer drink, like lemonade or tea.
    • Pro tip: get a refillable growler and fill it with your favorite libation!
  • Make sure not to leave any trash behind & recycle what you can!

 

Happy Cherry Fest & 4th of July week!


Name the Five Great Lakes: Summer Internship

My name is Eliza Somsel and I am currently an intern here at FLOW. I am from Grand Rapids, MI originally, but after I graduated high school in 2011, my parents moved to Traverse City. While I have not lived here long, I have always enjoyed Crystal Lake, Lake Michigan and the rest of Northern Michigan at my grandparent’s home in Beulah. I am a rising junior at the College of Wooster in Ohio, studying Communication and Environmental Studies.

As FLOW’s summer Grassroots Outreach Intern, I wear numerous hats. I write press releases, assist in event planning and advertising, and work on expanding our Great Lakes Society. My favorite work, however, is finding new ways to expand FLOW’s presence in the greater Grand Traverse community and Great Lakes Basin.

Here I am (left), with Allison Voglesong (center), and Justin Sterk (right), showing off our "Wheel of Water" at Green Day

Here I am (left), with Allison Voglesong (center), and Justin Sterk (right), showing off our “Wheel of Water” at Green Day

On Friday, July 5th, FLOW participated in the National Cherry Festival’s DTE Energy Green Day with our newly invented “Wheel of Water.” Along with FLOW staff and volunteers, I developed a Great Lakes trivia game and constructed a spinning game wheel to draw the attention of festivalgoers. My goal was to get people thinking about the importance of the Great Lakes and the work that FLOW does to protect the waters both now and for future generations. The wheel was divided into four colors that aligned with a category of questions: science, geography, people/economy, and history/politics. The process of creating the game was enjoyable itself, but I was absolutely in my element when interacting with kids and adults alike who share my passion and interest in the Great Lakes. I even got my picture in the Record Eagle!

For the kids, I asked a preliminary question before playing the game. “Can you name the five Great Lakes?” I was fortunate enough to have a variety of entertaining answers throughout the day. Some kids blew me away by naming them off without a blink of an eye, while others could only name one or two at best. I often heard that Crystal Lake, Torch Lake, Silver Lake, or whichever lake they loved was considered to be a Great Lake in their opinion. While by definition this may not be true, I must agree that any lake is a pretty “great” lake and worth protecting.

This is me showing a boy from Missouri what the Great Lakes are!

This is me showing a boy from Missouri what the Great Lakes are!

Like many of you, I have always loved the Great Lakes and want my future (way in the future) children and grandchildren to get to experience them as I have. FLOW strives to ensure this through the public trust. While a seemingly complex concept at first, I have come to understand the public trust as the best way to protect our waters. The public trust doctrine essentially says that water is shared and owned by the public and therefore cannot be privately owned. Uses of the waters have to be balanced in such a way that protected uses, like swimming and fishing, are maintained. FLOW works to ensure these rights are not forgotten or ignored. Activities or projects such as the Enbridge pipeline expansion across the Straits of Mackinac—which will transport tar sands through the Great Lakes—is a violation of the public trust. Using this principle is, to me, the most obvious solution to many similar threats to the Great Lakes. For this issue in particular, I am attending Oil and Water Don’t Mix: A Rally for the Great Lakes this Sunday, July 14th.

Also, join me on Friday, August 9th in downtown Traverse City during Friday Night Live to test your knowledge of the Great Lakes and spin the “Wheel of Water!”