Trail Creek Week 2017 is the week of September 25-29!

Trail Creek Week is a 5 day, place-based environmental education event hosted by the Trail Creek Watershed Partnership. Programming takes place on the banks of Trail Creek at Michigan City's Hansen Park. Student participants in the program attend interactive learning stations facilitated by local professionals from the Michigan City Sanitary District, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Barker Mansion and Civic Center, the Northwest Indiana Paddling Association (NWIPA), the National Park Service (NPS) and many others.

Each year since 2012, Michigan City has hosted the Wilderness Inquiry "Canoemobile" during Trail Creek Week. This traveling fleet of 24-foot handmade wooden "Voyageur" replica canoes provides the perfect opportunity for students to experience Trail Creek from a perspective not often seen.



Students are divided into teams and each team visits a series of education stations which cover:

  • water quality and assessment methods
  • historical significance of Trail Creek, Lake Michigan
  • water safety
  • Great Lakes fisheries + stream morphology

These topics examine our local ecosystem and instill in students an awareness of the incredible natural resources in their very own back yards. Students will touch native fish and invasive sea lamprey, change the shape of a stream to see what happens, try on a historic beaver fur hat, identify small critters and learn about their ability to be used as water quality assessment tools.



The primary learning objective for the program is experiencing the water resources we're educating about up close and personal.Many students arrive at Trail Creek Week never having had the experience of being in a boat or on any local waterways. Some students are naturally apprehensive about getting into the canoes and paddling. With the help of our expert water safety and paddling instructors, the support staff ensure that all students arrive back on shore safely, smiling and proud of their accomplishment.



Students learn quickly that unless all 9 passengers in the canoe paddle together and in-sync, the heavy wooden Voyager boat doesn’t move very far. Students learn to work as a team, paddling with each other to reach their goal. Upon returning from their paddle, many groups of students are seen laughing, giving each other high-fives, and making up team paddle songs.

Watkins-MCAS Meet the Superintendent.jpg
Our students love opportunities for hands-on, experiential learning. Trail Creek Week and Canoemobile get them engaged and active, and give them a deeper understanding of how the science and environmental concepts they are learning in the classroom apply to the world around them.
— Dr. Barbara Eason-Watkins, Superintdent Michigan City Area Schools

Nicole Messacar, Education Coordinator LaPorte County SWCD (219) 326-6806  

Nicole Messacar, Education Coordinator
LaPorte County SWCD
(219) 326-6806 


Trail Creek Week is a FREE annual experiential education event intended for students of all ages, primary through high school grade levels, living working or playing in LaPorte County. Nicole Messacar of the LaPorte SWCD coordinates scheduling directly with Michigan City Area Schools (MCAS), other area school programs and community groups (e.g. Boys & Girls Club, Scout troops, etc.). If you are a teacher, group director or any other community leader interested in bringing area youth to Trail Creek Week, please contact Nicole Messacar directly at (219) 326-6806 or  You needn't be directly affiliated with a school program to participate.

If you are an interested parent, urge your local school or community organization to participate in this incredible event!

Trail Creek Week is FREE to participating schools, organizations and students due to the incredible generosity of our key support donors (listed at bottom of this page) and from the funds raised at our annual public paddle race day, The Creekness Stakes. The Creekness Stakes is our public paddling event that caps off Trail Creek Week. It's a really fun way to experience the same river and canoe paddling that the students of Trail Creek Week experience. Sign up for the Creekness Stakes!

NOTE - LIMITED AVAILABILITY: Very few spots remain open for the 2017 Trail Creek Week, limited mostly to after-school hours. Contact us ASAP if you're interested in participating (Sept. 25-29, 2017).
2018 Trail Creek Week: Contact us today about reserving your spot for next year's Trail Creek Week!

Trail Creek Week 2017 is generously funded in part by these sponsors:

NIPSCO Outdoor Foundation

NIPSCO Outdoor Foundation

LaPorte County Conservation Trust Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission Michigan City Department of Parks & Recreation

LaPorte County Conservation Trust
Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission
Michigan City Department of Parks & Recreation

Sam Hook Design Sanitary District of Michigan City Ahsek Media Limited LaPorte County Soil & Water Conservation District

Sam Hook Design
Sanitary District of Michigan City
Ahsek Media Limited
LaPorte County Soil & Water Conservation District