This Sunday, Jan. 28, the Friendly Tavern in Empire hosts an afternoon of music, stories and poems highlighting the history of the Sleeping Bear Dunes area. Anne-Marie Oomen and Norm Wheeler will present “A Stone That Rises,” a dramatization of pioneer life in the settlement of Port Oneida, while Chris Skellenger and Patrick Niemisto will perform various songs inspired by local lore. The performance is presented by the Empire Area Community Center, with donations accepted to support their emergency relief fund. Join the fun from 4-6 pm at the Friendly Tavern in Empire.

In the Grand Traverse region, being on a boat is almost second nature to many, both men and women. Women are truly, and successfully, contributing to our modern-day maritime way of life. No longer considered an exclusively all male domain, even here in the Grand Traverse region women make their own mark captaining boats of all sizes. “One of the greatest things I like to hear is young women wanting to captain a ship,” said Lily Heyns, Relief Captain on both the Tall Ships Inland Seas and Manitou. Get to know Heyns, Heather Jankens, Rebecca Hancock, and Stephanie Watkins in Sandra Bradshaw’s story published in our July 14 edition of the Glen Arbor Sun.

Inland Seas Education Association (ISEA) will begin its 2019 Volunteer Training on Wednesday, April 3 from 5:30-7:30 pm at NMC’s Freshwater Studies Building, Room 112, 715 E Front St, Traverse City.

The morning heat was starting to sizzle as I escaped into the shade of the woods. I was just south of Suttons Bay on the TART trail pedaling north towards a dunk in the lake and a hearty breakfast. Dappled sun bounced off the clean pavement ahead as I shifted gears for more speed, energized by a cool breeze and the sight of the exit for Hop Lot.

There are approximately 250 volunteers helping out at the Inland Seas Education Association. “We’d be unable to function without all the amazingly talented and amazingly dedicated volunteers,” says executive director Fred Sitkins. There are doctors, lawyers, teachers, fish biologists, interior decorators, housewives and retirees of all kinds, including retired school administrators, pipe fitters and electronic hospital equipment salesmen.

The Leelanau Peninsula BirdFest is in its second year. It is a ‘standard’ birdwatching festival in that it is a combination of scheduled, guided field trips and evening keynote addresses. Field trips go to various habitat locations to observe as great a variety of birds possible. Field trips are led by top flight birders who in most cases are capable of identifying birds by sight and sound. Birdwatching festivals generally feature a specific bird or birds, or field trips offering a special experience.