2017-06-29 / Life in Leelanau

Summinars set to kick off in Leland Sunday

By Amy Hubbell
Of The Enterprise staff

THE LIST of Leelanau Summinars speakers include Harry Goldson, Chris Butz, and Nick and Jen Welty. THE LIST of Leelanau Summinars speakers include Harry Goldson, Chris Butz, and Nick and Jen Welty. Where can you learn about Great Lakes islands, the Farm-to-Table movement and the experiences of World War II veterans?

You don’t have to go far to learn more about these and other subjects which will be featured in this year’s Leelanau Summinars, which kickoff Sunday at the Old Art Building in Leland.

The speaker series is sponsored by a local non-profit group. It is the brainchild of Leland summer resident Frank Mead, and is loosely based on the “Beacon Hill Seminars,” held in his home community in Boston.

The first “summinars” organized to “inspire, educate and inform” were held during the summer of 2012 and have grown in popularity each year since.

Mary Fleishman, series facilitator, came on board in January 2016 at the request of Mead.

“I always went to the summinars,” she said. “Then, one day Frank Mead called and asked if I wanted to sit on the summinars board.”

Her involvement ultimately led to her facilitating the speaker series. In her first year of leadership attendance at the summinars doubled.

“It’s been a fun thing to do,” Fleishman said.

She sat down in mid-January and worked to come up with perhaps the most diverse lineup of speakers — some representing Leelanau’s most dynamic part of Leelanau’s economy — the farm-to-table movement.

Next month will feature talks by Jen and Nic Welty owners of 9 Bean Rows, a restaurant/bakery and Community Supported Agricultural garden based in Suttons Bay.

Also next month local farmer Chris Butz will talk about his experience on Gill’s Pier ranch, where he raises Tibetan yak and alpacas.

And in August, Amy Spitznagel of Idyll Farms will talk about her goat farm and creamery near Northport.

The natural features of the Great Lakes and boat building are the focus of two summinars also next month.

Author Loreen Neiwenhuis, who completed a trio of 1,000-mile adventures on the Great Lakes, will talk about islands of the inland seas July 10.

In a related maritime program, on July 21 author Scott Peters will talk about Michigan’s boat-building history between 1850 and 2000.

There will be more talk of water in August, when Nick Fleezanis, president of the Lake Leelanau Lake Association, will discuss ongoing efforts to combat swimmer’s itch locally and across northern Michigan.

Views on national and international politics are also on tap.

Phil Mikesell, retired professor of political science and Northport Village President will speak on the topic of “Our Broken Politics” in July. And British author David Lyon will talk about “What’s Happening in Europe and Why?” on Aug. 3.

Leelanau also boasts a diverse population that includes men who made their mark on the world well before retiring here.

Award-winning television producer Scott Craig will present “World War II Through the Eyes of Those who Fought and Survived.”

And Suttons Bay musician and corporate banker Harry Goldson will present “Dialogues and Improvisations: The Many Lives of Harry, ” on July 12.

“They could live anywhere they’d like, but they chose to live here,” Fleishman said.

Most summinars are $15 and will be held at the Old Art Building or the Munnecke Room of the Leland Township Library.

A complete list of programs and registration information can be found at LeelanauSumminars.org.

A kick-off reception will be held Sunday, from 5 to 7 p.m.

The first program, set for 10 a.m. Wednesday, will support efforts to restore the North Manitou Shoal Lighthouse in the Manitou Passage.

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