Jen Pate & Elaine McKinnon
Love Your Greats Mission Leaders & Adventure Scientists
great lakes beach cleanup

One of the many shoreline cleanup crews during eXXpedition Great Lakes 2016. Photo: Frank Beattie

On August 20 2016, seven sailboats led the way across the Great Lakes region for the world’s largest simultaneous sampling of microplastics in history: eXXpedition Great Lakes 2016. Two tall ships also sailed the waters of the United States and Canada with students aged 8-25 led by Toronto Brigantine & Inland Seas Education Association. With close to 100 people on board, these boats conducted surface trawling and water sampling for microplastics in all five Great Lakes, Lake St. Clair and the St. Lawrence River.

Meanwhile, more than 1,000 citizen scientists joined across the region to collect water samples for Adventure Scientists’ Global Microplastics Initiative and to orchestrate shoreline cleanups for the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup and Alliance for the Great Lakes’ Adopt-a-Beach Program.

manta trawling

One of the eXXpedition Lead Boats manta trawling on Lake Huron. Photo: Kate Lloyd-Rees

This really is an amazing story of people’s love for the Great Lakes and their desire to protect them for the future. When asked why they signed up, the most common answer was people’s individual responsibility to care for their backyard.

We believe that people’s personal stories are the best way to explore what happened that day. So, to see how people took part, have a look at the Love Your Greats Instagram Page where all their photos, videos and words were shared throughout the day. 

But the efforts don’t stop now that this one-day event is over. We are planning an annual Love Your Greats day each August that gets people outdoors, enjoying the lakes and waterways while doing something meaningful to protect them. For more info and to keep posted on developments, check out

Love Your Greats Instagram

Just a few of the snapshots from the historic day. Photo: Love Your Greats Instagram

We also want to hear from you! Are you passionate about the Great Lakes and waterways of North America? Share your stories by tagging @loveyourgreats or #loveyourgreats.

Together, we can make such an amazing difference in the face of global environmental issues such as plastic pollution. Join the community and show us how you Love Your Greats!

Lake Ontario eXXpedition crew

eXXpedition Great Lakes 2016 Lead Boat crew on Lake Ontario. Photo: Stephanie Sardelis

The inspiration for this massive one-day event was born out of eXXpedition, a crew of women taking on voyages to “make the unseen seen, from the toxics in our bodies to the toxics in our seas.” For more information on this awesome, all-women science venture, visit
Find out more about our Global Microplastics Project and other Adventure Scientists projects by visiting our website, the Landmark Notes blog and by following us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.