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Protecting Northern Michigan's ​Water Resources

Grand Opening Celebration of the Ruth Tucker Ayers Harris Watershed Discovery Center

This event is in partnership with Downtown Petoskey on Saturday, June 1, 2024

Opening Celebration: 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.
The Sturgeon Scavenger Hunt: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Join us for the opening of the Ruth Tucker Ayers Harris Watershed Discovery Center! Located at the Watershed Council’s headquarters at 426 Bay Street in downtown Petoskey, this new educational space offers a unique, hands-on experience to explore and learn about Northern Michigan’s rich water resources and how the Watershed Council works to protect these resources.

At the Watershed Discovery Center, guests can marvel at aquariums, experience a macroinvertebrate touch tank, and experiment with a watershed simulator—a unique augmented reality sandbox that will allow visitors to visualize water flow across various landscapes. Working with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Fisheries Enhancement Facility, juvenile sturgeon, arctic grayling, and whitefish will inhabit the aquariums, giving visitors the chance to come “face-to-fin” with aquatic life and highlighting efforts to restore native fish species in our service area.

Opening Celebration

The opening celebration will take place at the Watershed Council and adjacent Pennsylvania Park on Saturday, June 1, 2024, from 12p.m. to 2 p.m., in partnership with Downtown Petoskey. This free, public event promises a fun-filled day for the entire family. Activities include face painting, arts and crafts, interactive games, and a macroinvertebrate station where visitors can get an up-close view of the tiny insects that play a crucial role in our watershed’s health. In addition, a “Sturgeon Scavenger Hunt” will take place throughout the Downtown Petoskey shopping district from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Kids of all ages can hunt for sturgeon hidden in retail shops and turn in their scavenger hunt sheets for a prize at the Watershed Council.

Sturgeon Scavenger Hunt 

Search for the Sturgeon! Pick up your scavenger hunt maps at the Watershed Council or any participating retailer between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Search participating downtown stores to find this finicky fish! Once you find the sturgeon in all of the stores, have your passport signed by a sales person and bring your completed passport to the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council by 3 p.m. for a prize! List of retailers coming soon!

In partnership with:

Downtown Petoskey Logo

“Downtown Petoskey is thrilled to partner with the Watershed Council for the opening of the Ruth Tucker Ayers Harris Watershed Discovery Center. This is a great addition to downtown and we are so excited for the fun activities they have planned for the opening celebration” adds Andi Symonds, Downtown Petoskey Marketing and Promotions Director.

Regular hours of operation begin on Monday, June 3. The Watershed Discovery Center will be open year-round on weekdays 10 AM – 3 PM and select Saturdays in the summer months. There is no charge for admission.

The Ruth Tucker Ayers Harris Watershed Discovery Center is made possible thanks to the generous support of The Harris Family, Sally and Ian Bund, Anne Morrow and Roger Chope, Evening Star Joinery, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Fisheries Enhancement Facility, and Pond Hill Farm.

About Ruth Tucker Ayers Harris
The Watershed Discovery Center is named in honor of Ruth Tucker Ayers Harris, a devoted 38-year member of the Watershed Council. Ruth, a passionate watercolor artist and conservationist, left an indelible mark on Northern Michigan through her dedication to nature and environmental preservation. Her generous bequest has helped bring this vision to life, ensuring the future health of our waterways.

About Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council

Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council speaks for our members including full-time and seasonal residents, lake associations, and businesses. We work to maintain the environmental integrity and economic and aesthetic values of lakes, streams, wetlands, and groundwater in Northern Michigan, as well as statewide and throughout the Great Lakes Basin. As the lead organization for water resources protection in Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, and Emmet Counties, the Watershed Council is working to preserve the heritage of Northern Michigan – a tradition built around our magnificent waters.