Author to discuss Great Lakes treks, love of adventure

By: Sherri Kolade | Farmington Press | Published June 15, 2016

FARMINGTON HILLS — Loreen Niewenhuis, 52, had a midlife crisis seven years ago that she turned into three books after traversing around the Great Lakes for 3,000 miles. 

 “That turned into a midlife adventure,” she said of when she turned 45. “The biggest thing I learned on these adventures is even though … the waters are vast, they’re fragile, and we need to be caretakers. … We have the most to gain, or lose, by the health of these waters.” 

Learn more about the Traverse City resident’s love of the lakes during a discussion on her book, “A 1,000 Mile Great Lakes Walk,” 7-8:30 p.m. June 22 at the Farmington Community Library’s main branch, 32737 12 Mile Road. 

In addition to Niewenhuis diving deep into discussing her trek along the shorelines of all five Great Lakes, she will talk about her books, “A 1,000 Mile Walk on the Beach,” “A 1,000 Mile Great Lakes Walk,” and “A 1,000 Mile Great Lakes Island Adventure.”

Her adventures took about 1,000 miles each — hiking, biking, kayaking and boating to the islands.

Through words, photos and videos, she will take attendees along the ride to discuss geology, hydrology and natural history of the largest system of freshwater lakes in the world, according to the library’s website. 

She will also touch on the threats to this massive ecosystem: invasive species, pollution, destruction of wetlands and the warming of the lakes, according to

Jillian Baker, library main branch head of adult services, said that her interest in Niewenhuis’ work began when she was employed at another library and invited the author to come speak about her first book.

“It was really well-received,” she said, adding that the FCL’s summer reading program is on healthy living, and the upcoming discussion ties into the theme of Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds. 

“I hope people will come out to hear Loreen speak. She is a really wonderful speaker. She had some really great experiences with her travels around the lakes, and (it’s) a really fun program for all ages.”

Niewenhuis, who holds a master’s degree in biological sciences and writing, said that Lake Michigan has always been her favorite region.

“That has been my favorite place ever since I was a little kid,” she said, adding that she brings her family to the Great Lakes too.

The author said that she hopes attendees leave her discussion with a greater appreciation for the waters that “literally define our state of Michigan.”

For more information or to purchase her books, go to or visit The Next Chapter Book Store & Bistro in Northville.

Her books are available for checkout at the Farmington Community Library.