putinbaylodging.com is happy to bring you the following piece, from the amazing Put-in-Bay Gazette. To subscribe to the Gazette (which we passionately recommend) visit putinbay.news!
GLIA Retreat in Cedarville, MI Held to Help Great Lakes Island Communities Prepare for the Future
The Leadership Committee of the Great Lakes Islands Alliance (GLIA) met from October 2-5 in Cedarville, Michigan near the Les Cheneaux islands in northern Michigan with a challenging task – to decide how the Alliance can best support the residents of islands as they face environmental and socio-economic issues over the next 10 years.
GLIA is a voluntary, collaborative, bi-national network that brings together residents of 20 inhabited islands across the Great Lakes. The self-imposed mission of GLIA is to enhance relationship building, foster the exchange of information, and leverage resources to address shared challenges and embrace opportunities that benefit islands.
The vision and goal of GLIA is to support individual islands for current and future generations, honoring their distinct cultures and character, while growing the collective impact of an inter-island network.
Inspired by the Island Institute of Maine, GLIA provides important relationships between separate islands that share the need for solving problems unique to islands.
GLIA was established in 2017 and recognizes that people inhabiting Great Lakes islands tend to live at a slower pace, are more in tune with the environment, and interact socially more than people on the mainland.
The Alliance helps islands address issues such as water quality and water levels in the Great Lakes, waste disposal, biodiversity conservation, pollution prevention, waste management, recycling and climate adaptation and resiliency. Islanders are concerned about conserving natural areas and endangered species of plants and animals and GLIA helps locate pertinent information.
GLIA also seeks to foster a robust quality of life for year-round islanders, seasonal residents and visitors by addressing topics as diverse as tourism, health and safety, education, housing, infrastructure, cultural/historic heritage and local governance.
The five-member GLIA Steering or Leadership Committee holds meetings twice a month via Zoom; however, funding from the MOTT Foundation made possible an in-person retreat near Les Cheneaux to review the success of GLIA over the past six years, decide what changes in the operation are needed, and speculate on the types of help islands need to sustain themselves over the next 10 years.
Members of the Steering Committee and designated alternates are volunteers from islands in all five of the Great Lakes. Lake Erie volunteer participants in the retreat included Mike Gora of Middle Bass Island and Renee Fultz of South Bass Island.
The retreat was organized by GLIA Project Manager Peter Huston of South Bass Island and GLIA Coordinator Matt Preisser based with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. Kate Tagai, Director with The Island Institute in Maine joined the meeting as the facilitator.
GLIA has one employee, thanks to funding from the MOTT Foundation, but it was apparent at the retreat that the Alliance needs to grow and work harder as it attempts to address the many complex issues faced by Great Lakes islands.
The retreat drew attention to the need for GLIA to contribute to solving problems such as the high cost of housing, inability of the hospitality industry to find employees, invading plants, loss of biodiversity, impact of climate change, enhancing tourism, preparedness for forest fires, keeping young people on islands, sewage and garbage disposal.
GLIA recognizes that Great Lakes islands are on the front line of impacts from climate change and that island communities need help in building resilience in the face of many adverse changes including drought and the risk of forest fires.
An outcome of the retreat was the recognition that GLIA needs additional employees to help with communications, fundraising and assembling and distributing island data. Plans were made to raise funds for these positions.
For information on GLIA, see glialliance.org or contact GLIA Steering Committee Chairman Angela LeFevre-Welke, President, Island Airways Beaver Island, Michigan [email protected] or (231) 448-2071.
This piece of Put-in-Bay journalism has been provided to putinbaylodging.com courtesy of the Put-in-Bay Gazette, Put-in-Bay’s only local newspaper. Visit their website putinbay.news for more information and to subscribe!