Hello future friends & family!
The summer season has finally arrived up here on the Big Lake. After a dry spring, the late May rains have set off the great green explosion in our surrounding forests, and leaves are filling up the canopy fast. The apple blossoms are blooming, the birds are out singing their songs, the rare Morell mushroom can be found along our hiking trails, and, of course, the long-awaited mosquitos have hatched! The ramps and wild leeks are now well-hidden on the forest floor, whereas two or three weeks ago they were the only green beings to be found. The air is getting muggy, and we are beginning to leave our windows wide open all night long. All of this summer activity, along with our continued planning and shaping of the experience we will all be gathering for in July, has me very excited for what this season may bring.
My name is Liam, but you can also call me Li or Lya! I use they/them pronouns, and I have the immense privilege of being one of your instructors for the Lake Superior: The Good Life program. I was born in Bayfield, WI, one of the little towns along the coast of the Chequamegon Peninsula where we will be travelling together. I’ve spent a lot of my life travelling, and have lived many places, but this place has always been my home. Something about the water keeps pulling me back.
As you’ll soon learn, the lake is the center of life around here. Gitchigumi, Lake Superior, “The Big Lake,” we know her by many names. She is around every corner, at the end of every stream, under every well and in every person’s spirit who knows her. Soon, she will be in yours.
I bring six years of experience teaching in the outdoors to our program. I grew my practice as an educator during my summers spent learning and teaching languages at Concordia Language Villages in Northern Minnesota, which included taking young people on French-immersion canoe expeditions in Voyageurs National Park & the Boundary Waters. I have been speaking French and Chinese language from a young age, which has greatly informed my love for cross-cultural learning and my sense of being in this world. Since then I have brought students out snowshoeing in the Northern Rocky Mountains, spent 100 days paddling down the Mississippi River from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Memphis, Tennessee, and facilitated popular education within the indigenous-led movement to #StopLine3. Now, I work for Dragons and teach woodworking at Urban Boat Builders in St. Paul, a blend of my passions for woodworking and experiential learning!
I am thrilled to spend my summer sharing this beautiful place that I call home with you all, and to draw on all of my skills and relationships to create an experience that will connect, inspire and rejuvenate us. The themes that we will explore on this course are close to my heart, and close to my work, so I will be growing and changing right along with you.
I’ll leave it there for now. I look forward to engaging with you all more at our open house, on the Yak board, and in person come July! I encourage you all to share introductions, ask questions, and generally start to get curious and reach out about our coming adventures together!
The photo is of me today, weeding out the raspberry patch in my front yard. July is the perfect time to be picking raspberries, so I look forward to sharing the fruits of my labor with you all! It’s one of my favorite parts of summer 😛