A fun and engaging program from MSU Extension's 4-H and Michigan Sea Grant designed to help families learn more about the Straits of Mackinac.

The Life of the Straits program is a fun and engaging program designed to help families learn more about the Straits of Mackinac. This program highlights cultural and natural features in Mackinac, Chippewa, Emmet, Cheboygan and Presque Isle counties. The program is best suited for families with children age 8-12. However all ages are invited to join in. There is something fun and exciting in each individual program for all! Mac Island - learning about geology

Each year the Life of the Straits team finds under-explored and exciting places, diving deep into the cultural and natural history of the area. The program normally consists of one event from each county, where participants will be guided through learning experiences by local experts.

Past explorations have taken place at locations like Fort Holmes on Mackinac Island, 40 Mile Point Lighthouse in Presque Isle county, and a glass bottom boat tour on the Cheboygan River.

Participants have enjoyed events like fossil hunts, lighthouse art sessions, native plant restoration and healthy local lunch feasts. Each exploration includes hands on learning experiences along with expert Q&A sessions.

Participants are also given tools and ideas on how they can help steward, utilize and enhance their own cultural and natural resources.

Program objectives

  • Families will become familiar with locations & types of local cultural & natural resources
  • Families will develop a greater sense of place & pride in their local cultural & natural resources
  • Families will be able to list ways to steward, utilize and enhance their local cultural & natural resources

A little history

The program has been delivered in the Straits Area since 2017, with each year bringing new and exciting changes. For the first three years the program was held in person at various locations across the region. In 2020, the program went virtual for the first time using videos of various exciting places in the Straits and ending with at-home activities and an expert Q&A session. Future years will include a mix of both virtual and in person events.

View Video Series


This program is created and managed by Michigan 4-H programs of each of the 5 Straits area counties as well as the Michigan Sea Grant Program. Funds have been provided from a variety of generous donors and sources including the 4-H council, MI Sea Grant, and the Mackinac County Child Protection Round Table and the SNAP-ED program.