Finding his passion

TRAVERSE CITY — Zander Cabinaw wants to litter Grand Traverse Bay — with kayakers, canoeists and stand-up paddle boarders, that is.

The Williamsburg teen is inviting paddlers and others to show their support for the Great Lakes at the first Great Lakes Floatila on East Grand Traverse Bay. The Sunday event at the Keith J. Charters Traverse City State Park will feature food, kids’ games and other activities, informational booths, a boat-washing station and a silent auction, all with a fresh-water focus.

Cabinaw, 14, organized the family-friendly event as a school community service project after learning about the fragility of the Great Lakes. His science teacher and sports coach, Kwin Morris, is a paddler and co-founder of Stand Up for Great Lakes, a nonprofit devoted to education and protection for the natural resources.

“He would always show us documentaries in class so I was curious,” said Cabinaw, an eighth-grader at Cherryland Middle School in Elk Rapids. “Some were about littering, some were about climate change and some were about invasive species. “They damage the ecosystem and hurt tourism, fisheries and agriculture.”

Cabinaw has another reason for being concerned: he comes from a family of outdoors enthusiasts who love to swim, kayak, canoe and paddle board.

Now he hopes his event helps educate others in an entertaining way.

“We’re trying to keep it really fun so that friends and families will come,” said his grandmother, Deborah Porter of Traverse City, who helped with the logistics of the event along with Cabinaw’s mother, Rachel Cabinaw.

If you go

What: Great Lakes Floatila

When: 2-4 p.m. Sunday (rain date: June 10)

Where: Keith J. Charters Traverse City State Park

Parking: Traverse City State Park or TBA Career Tech Center on Parsons Road. Free shuttle rides back to the park.

Admission: Free, but donations will be accepted. Proceeds go to Stand Up for Great Lakes.