Chicago Trio Sail for Great Lakes Research

Three Chicago friends are waiting for the right conditions – southwest winds at about 15 mph – to make a 60-some mile voyage aboard small sailboats from Two Rivers, Wis., to Ludington, Mich., to raise money for the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research.

“People don’t take adventures any more,” said Drew Fries, who is making the trip with pals J.T. Bohland and Erik Ejups.

But this is more than an adventure for the trio.

“I think there are a lot of passionate young people concerned about protecting the environment. A lot is said but nothing is done,” he said. “We wanted to manifest this passion for Mother Nature in action, not just tagging a status on Facebook. We’re doing this to raise awareness for fresh water and it’s preservation and research.”

They have started a Go Fund Me campaign to raise money for the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research, headquartered at the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources, partners with nine universities and several environmental groups, such as The Nature Conservancy and the National Wildlife Federation, in its ongoing research of the Great Lakes (

“Sailing for us, the sport is very intimate and real and raw,” Fries said. “We are small boat sailors. It’s like the size of a small car or double bed. No motors, no lower decks. Our carbon footprint across the water will be zero. We’re doing something that’s worth living and doing something that reminds us we’re alive. We just thought it would be a cool cause to give back to.”

As of press time, the trio was set to sail on Sept. 15. We’ll have an update of the journey once they’ve made it.

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