GLLKA Education Initiatives

2012 GLLKA Great Lakes Maritime Education Workshop
Since 1989, teachers and youth leaders have participated in annual workshops in residence at St. Helena Island Light Station in northern Michigan's Straits of Mackinac. Additional workshops are held around the Great Lakes by arrangements.

Comprehensive heritage education materials have been produced and distributed, including the regularly updated Educational Resources Guide.

In addition, work with Scout merit badges and individual Scout and student projects continues at GLLKA facilities reaching young people from coast to coast.

To date, over 3,000 teachers and youth leaders and an estimated 400,000 young people have been reached through GLLKA's workshops. Full cost to put on each workshop is $800 per person, however, the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association will subsidize the majority of the cost, including boat transportation out of Mackinaw City, MI, to and from St. Helena Island.  The workshop fee is $275, which partially pays for materials, food, housing at the 1873 historic light station, and a personal membership in the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association.

View slidesgow about GLLKA's Maritime Educators Worshop Click to download Maritime Heritage Education Workshop application in Adobe PDF format While originally designed for teachers, this program offers such unique insight into the life of lighthouse keepers and Great Lakes maritime history in general that it will be of interest to anyone wishing to expand their understanding of the subject area. Placement in the workshop will be on a first come-first served basis with the workshop size limited to 12 to 15 participants.


GLLKA Speaker Program
We are proud to make available a group of experienced speakers are experienced in making presentations on all aspects of Great Lakes lighthouse history and restoration. Whether showing "up close and personal" views of lighthouses beyond the reach of the average person, recounting the remarkable story of "The Miracle of The Straits of Mackinaw" that is our restoration of the St. Helena Island lighthouse, telling gripping stories of the valiant keepers who maintained the lights, the history of the lighthouses service on the Great Lakes, or the wonderful technology that is the Fresnel lens, we guarantee any audience will be entertained and leave with a wealth of new knowledge.

Our speakers have been featured at such events as the Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival, the Door County Lighthouse Walk, The Association for Great Lakes Maritime History, the Michigan Lighthouse Alliance Lighthouse Stewards meeting and at numerous lighthouses, libraries, museums, colleges and schools throughout the Midwest.

We have presentations on a wide variety of subjects, and we can cerate custom-designed presentations to suit a specific area of interest. If you have a group of people who you feel might be interested in learning more about the history of Great Lakes lighthouses, or current preservation efforts, contact us by any of the methods listed at the bottom of this page, us and we will be happy to see if we accommodate your meeting schedule.  


GLLKA Oral History Program
Since the inception of our Association in 1983, we have been conducting oral histories of people who served or grew up at Great Lakes lighthouses in order to ensure that their stories are recorded for future generations.

In order to make these oral histories as widely available as possible, we have been publishing them in book form, with our first such book Living at a Lighthouse, edited by by Luanne Gaykowski Kozma being published in 198. While no longer in publication, copies of this 104-page book are widely available in libraries throughout the Great Lakes region, and serve to provide great insight into the lives of lighthouse keepers and their families.  

Our second book of oral histories Reliving Lighthouse Memories, was compiled by Sandra Planisek and published in 2004. This 262-page work is particularly important since it provides first-hand insight into life in during the transitional from the Lighthouse Service to the Coast Guard, and the subsequent automation of lighthouses throughout the Great Lakes through the 1960's.

With the days of manned lighthouses well behind us, the number of people who served as lighthouse keepers or who grew up at lighthouses is sadly diminishing on a daily basis, and it is becoming of increasing importance to record their memories in their own words before they are completely lost. To this end, we continue to interview people, and welcome participation of anyone who would like to sit down with such people and find out what life was like in those earlier days. To this end, we have created an manual which provides basic instruction on conducting an oral history interview, along with some suggested topic areas which might be covered. Click on the link below to download a copy of this manual in PDF format.

Also, if you know of any people who served or grew up at lighthouses that you feel should be interviewed, please contact us and let us know about them, and we will see if we can dispatch someone in that area to record their stories.


GLLKA Archive
Since its inception, our Association has been amassing historical information pertaining to Great Lakes lighthouses.

In addition to a sizeable library of books, our growing collection includes original lighthouse service documents, copies of historical documents, maps, charts, construction plans, historic photographs and clippings from various sources, and thousands of photographs and slides documenting our own ongoing lighthouse preservation efforts.

While available space and costs have yet to allow us to make our collection widely accessible for public research, we welcome researchers by prior appointment during regular business hours. If you are interested in conducting research, please contact us to make an appointment by any of the means shown at the bottom of this page.

Also, if you, or anyone you know, has any books, documents, photographs or pertinent artifacts which you feel might contribute to this collection, please feel free to contact us, as we are always looking to expand the collection to serve as a resource for future generations. Either original materials or photocopies are welcome, as are both printed and digital images. Remember that as a registered 501(c)(3) Association, there may be positive tax ramifications resulting from making such a donation to our Association..


GLLKA Educational Resource Guide
To assist teachers and parents, GLLKA we have published this comprehensive resource which serves a "Must Have" for all educators. Now in its Third Edition, the 209 pages are drilled and perforated so they can easy removal for copying and insertion into a 3-ring binder. Included are lesson plans and activities on the Great Lakes and the roles played by our historic lighthouses. Subject areas covered include: Art, Computer Science, History, language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies.

The activities in this guide have been created to help introduce students to the lighthouses and the environment of the Great Lakes. The purpose is to assist in the understanding of the importance of the Great Lakes in our development and today's world. These activities have been designed to integrate into the elementary and secondary curriculum at appropriate grade levels and content areas. The approach is to provide practical information and problem-solving opportunities that develop in students the knowledge and skills necessary for effective, concerned, and responsible participation in our immediate and global communities.

Click the image of the book cover to the right to download a complete list of contents in Adobe PDF format. The Guide may be purchased in our secure online store by clicking the link at the upper right of this page.


The Beacon Magazine
From its humble beginning as a single-page newsletter in 1982, The Beacon has grown to become a high quality magazine. The Beacon now serves as the Association's primary outlet for disseminating information on history and current preservation efforts at lighthouses throughout the Great Lakes, and will serve as a valuable reference source for anyone researching Great Lakes lighthouses for generations to come.

Published every March, June, September and December, each issue containing articles in the following subject areas:

Updates on Great Lakes lighthouse restoration and preservation.
Announcements of upcoming GLLKA cruises and expeditions.
Historical articles by noted Great Lakes lighthouse historians.
News of legislative issues affecting lighthouse restoration.
Articles by guest authors on esoteric lighthouse-related subjects.
Historic Great Lakes lighthouse photographs.

Each issue of The Beacon features a full color front and back cover with photographs taken by some of the Great Lakes area's finest lighthouse photographers. Ranging in size from 32 to 80 pages, each issue contains articles on Great Lakes lighthouses of a depth unavailable anywhere else. Feedback received from many of our members is that receiving The Beacon alone makes the cost of membership in the Association worthwhile.

Select from the links below to view some sample articles from recent issues of The Beacon. Note that all these example articles are in Adobe PDF format:

New Look for an Old Light - Wayne Sapulski - Spring 2007 (411kb)
False Duck Island Lighthouse - Larry & Patricia Wright - Summer 2007
(321kb)
A Frozen Moment - Spectacle Reef in 1968 - Fall 2007
(224kb)
Near Death of Racine Reef - Terry Pepper - Winter 2007
(282kb)
A New Life for Spectacle Reef - Peter Blanken - Winter 2009 (296k)

Remember - the only way to obtain The Beacon is to become a GLLKA member. Just click on the "Online Store" button at the top of the page and purchase a membership in our secure online store.