ABOUT THE FRIENDS
Thousands of miles of deep blue water in Thunder Bay are home to an estimated 200 shipwrecks, with nearly 100 identified to date. Majestic lighthouses, life-saving stations, and harbors further serve witness to the rich maritime history of Thunder Bay. Key to the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary’s mission is protecting the Great Lakes and educating the public about these vast fresh waters and priceless treasures that rest along Lake Huron’s northwestern shores and bottomlands. Providing local support for the sanctuary’s mission is the driving force behind the Friends of TBNMS.
Established in 2010 by local community leaders, the Friends of TBNMS is a nonprofit 501(c)3. Its founders envisioned the significant opportunity the sanctuary offered for protecting our Great Lakes and their rich maritime history, hands-on educational experiences for area students, and local economic development. Today, that vision has become a reality with the Friends of TBNMS sharing a close working relationship with the sanctuary staff, playing a critical role in funding the sanctuary’s education programs, community outreach efforts, unique museum experiences, and research.
Donations from Friends members and grants support:
- Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center
- PreK-16 education programs (water quality, marine debris, shipwrecks, Great Lakes history and archaeology)
- Summer and spring break camp scholarships for school-age youth
- Marine technology and underwater robotics programs and competitions
- Annual community events that include the Thunder Bay Maritime Festival (July) and Thunder Bay International Film Festival (January)
- Shipwreck and Great Lakes research and preservation
- Great Lakes conservation
- Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Trail