We are a growing and open network of people, organizations and institutions from the Great Lakes bioregion who care passionately about these remarkable bodies of water.
Great Lakes Commons was initiated and incubated as a project by On The Commons. A number of organizations and individuals from the U.S., Canada, and First Nations provided leadership and guidance from early on. These include the Council of Canadians, Blue Mountain Center, Detroit People's Water Board, Vermont Law School Environmental Law Center, Blue Planet Project, FLOW for Water, and Food and Water Watch. Individuals who are key GLC collaborators are listed below.
Together we are environmentalists and scientists, recreationalists and teachers, urban and rural, Native and non-native, people of faith and artists, food growers and public health advocates — people like you who want to see the Lakes thrive for generations to come.
We are united in a desire to insure that they have a vibrant future and share a commitment to the long term transformation of the care and governance of the Great Lakes. Leadership of the Great Lakes Commons reflects an unusual and promising alliance of people from across Nations, geography, ancestry and traditions.
We welcome the participation of anyone committed to a vibrant future for the Lakes.
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Meet Our Team
Ricardo Levins Morales is an artist by trade, a healer by temperament and a troublemaker by necessity. His art and writing both grow out of relationships with communities and movements in struggle for a more livable world. He also offers support and reflection for organizers and others facing the dilemmas of trying to create a future out of materials from the past.
Lindsay Swan is a movement and theatre artist from Brooklyn, NY who has made a home in Western Massachusetts since 2012. She has studied Contact Improvisation and Authentic Movement since 2010, and Grotowski-inspired physical theatre since 2013. Lindsay developed a one-woman show Clocked while in residence at Earthdance Creative Living Project in Plainfield, MA. In 2014 she joined Children of the Wild Ensemble Theatre as a core ensemble member and has been performing, touring, and teaching theatre and movement techniques since.
Augustin Ganley is a filmmaker and co-founder of traveling theatre ensemble Children of the Wild. He is from Minneapolis, MN and currently lives semi-nomadically between western Massachusetts and Minnesota in the Great Lakes region. Children of the Wild is an ensemble of North American artists making original works of theatre and film that further the rewilding of industrial spaces and the human spirit as part of a common struggle for social and environmental justice.
Danielle Boissoneau is Anishnaabe kwe from Ketegaunseebee (Garden River, Ontario). As a mother of five children, Danielle enjoys her responsibility to protect the water. Following in the tradition of Grandmother Josephine Mandamin, Danielle likes to walk for the water whenever possible. Doing Water Walks around Hamilton Harbour, St. Clair River and the Grand River has been some of the most rewarding experiences of her life. Achieving unity in love and defence of water is one of Danielle's favourite goals.
Frank Ettawageshik is the Executive Director of the United Tribes of Michigan in Harbor Springs, MI. Frank served fourteen years as the Tribal Chairman of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in Harbor Springs. During his tenure as Tribal Chairman he was instrumental in the adoption of the Tribal and First Nations Great Lakes Water Accord in 2004. He is also the Chairman of the United League of Indigenous Nations Governing Board with 40 years of public service with many other organizations.
Moheb Soliman is a poet and artist from Egypt and the Midwest who's presented work in US and Canadian cities in diverse contexts. His poetry practice has lead to text-based performance and installation work, commissions for public poetry projects and festivals, residency awards at such institutions as the Banff Centre and Vermont Studio Center. Recent fellowships from the Joyce Foundation and Pillsbury House spurred his interdisciplinary project HOMES, about nature, culture, modernity, belonging, and identity around the populous, wild Great Lakes region.
Susan Peterson Gateley has a MS in fisheries science, holds a Coast Guard license to 100 ton offers sailing instruction and writes on Lake Ontario. Most recent works - 'Saving The Beautiful Lake' and a documentary 'A Quest For Hope'.
Jen Pate is a geographer and entrepreneur fascinated by human-environment interaction. She has been working on the issue of plastic in our waterways since late 2013 and was Filmmaker, Mission Coordinator and Mission Leader on three separate sailing voyages raising awareness of this issue in marine and freshwater environments. In August 2016, she led the world’s largest simultaneous sampling for microplastics in history across the Great Lakes.
Luke Evans is GLC's Program Manager and was born and raised in northwest lower Michigan, just a few miles from Lake Michigan and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. He has a background in Great Lakes policy, previously working for a Native American government. He enjoys good food, camping, and exploring the shores of the Great Lakes.
Ann Brummitt is Co-Director of Milwaukee Water Commons and part of the GLC leadership team. Prior to this she directed the Milwaukee River Greenway Coalition. She has swum in Lakes Michigan and Superior. Three to go.
Alexa Bradley works with Milwaukee Water Commons and is part of the Great Lakes Commons leadership team. She has worked as an organizer, facilitator and popular educator for many years, always with the goal of bringing the possible to life in the real. She loves all things commons and all things Great Lakes.
Julie Ristau has an extensive background in leadership development, community organizing, publishing and agriculture. Julie is the Co-Director of On the Commons, the parent organization of Great Lakes Commons. She has been involved in GLC since its inception and is on the coordinating team.
Paul Baines is GLC's Outreach and Education coordinator. Paul leaped into the GLC work after reading ‘Our Great Lakes Commons: a peoples plan to protect the Great Lakes forever’ and then founded the Great Lakes Commons Map in 2012 to crowdsource people’s worry and wisdom for water health through data, discussion and story. He comes to this water reconciliation work with a background in critical pedagogy, democratic media, and environmental and cultural studies. Paul is home in the Lake Ontario watershed and in the summer of 2016 toured the Great Lakes for 5 months connecting people, issues, and perspectives.
Our work is made possible by the support and generosity of the Park Foundation. We are also thankful to Milwaukee Environmental Consortium for their guidance and administrative support.
The Commission For Environmental Cooperation's North American Partnership for Environmental Community Action program has provided project support to develop resources and tools for commoning in the Great Lakes.