Goodwillie Environmental School


Expanding the minds of students, teachers - and even of its visitors - is what happens at the Goodwillie Environmental School in Ada (Grand Rapids), Michigan. Maggie & I visited our niece Paige's school in April to speak to her 5th grade classmates about paddling across our Great State. Besides following the basic 5th and 6th grade curriculum, Goodwillie Environmental School students use the outdoors as their "living classroom" where they learn to understand and care for nature.

The students, working with the father & son team of Jim & Kevin Finney, built a 24' long voyageur canoe which they posed with in the accompanying photo. The kids & the Finneys have built two other canoes, one made out of Elm bark and the other created from a Tulip Poplar tree.

Goodwillie students paddled these 3 boats on two trips down the Grand River, including on the 2010 "Grand Expedition".

One cannot help but feel very good about our future after even a short visit to Goodwillie. You can learn more about this school at

Doc Honored with 2017 Michigan Author Award

The Michigan Library Association has named Doc Fletcher as the recipient of their
2017 Michigan Author Award...

Ma Deeter's - Sad Loss of a Legend

On October 1, 2015, Ma Deeter's Tavern burned to the ground. 7 miles west of Mio in Luzerne, Ma's has served northern Michigan for over 100 years and was a fine place to relax at after a full day paddling the AuSable River. I researched Ma's for the AuSable chapter in the book "Paddling Michigan's Hidden Beauty" and feel blessed that I was able to spend some time in the tavern, and got to know some of it's amazing history.

Thank you Big Al VanKerckhove for introducing me to Ma Deeter's.

Here's a MLive article on Ma's...