Presentation and film at GLMHC this month

Courtesy Photo The SS Greater Buffalo, seen here, was one of the two largest Great Lakes side-wheeled excursion steamers ever built. Learn more about this and other historic ships Feb. 21 at Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center in Alpena.

A Feb. 21 presentation on passenger ships, and a Feb. 28 film, “Chasing Ice!” will be free programs at Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center, 500 W. Fletcher Street, Alpena.

Great Lakes Cruising

“International Great Lakes Cruising,” presented by Michael Beaulac, senior project administrator, Michigan Office of the Great Lakes, will be offered at 7 p.m. Feb. 21. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

International interest in Great Lakes cruising is on the rise. Beaulac will present a short history of Great Lakes passenger ships and what’s considered to be the industry’s golden age, as well as the recent global cruising industry’s growing interest in the Great Lakes as an international destination.

Over the past few years, Beaulac has played an integral role in exploring the potential economic and social implications of cruise ships docking at small port communities, as well as what it takes for communities like Alpena, Traverse City, Houghton-Hancock, and Muskegon to be “port ready.”

Beaulac oversees a diverse portfolio of water-related projects that include maritime autonomous vehicles/vessels, the Great Lakes cruising industry, water quality monitoring networks, and blue accounting. He has undergraduate and graduate degrees in oceanographic technology, marine and water resource management, and water quality modeling. During his 40-year career, he has worked for the Florida Institute of Technology (Gulf of Mexico and Bahamas), US Fish & Wildlife Service (Alaska and the Great Lakes), and Michigan Departments of Natural Resources, Environmental Quality, and Information Technology, as well as the private sector. He has extensive shipboard experience conducting government and university research.

“Chasing Ice!”

Sanctuary Cinema Series presents “Chasing Ice!” at 7 p.m. Feb. 28. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

In the spring of 2005, acclaimed environmental photographer James Balog headed to the Arctic on a tricky assignment for National Geographic: to capture images to help tell the story of the Earth’s changing climate. Even with a scientific upbringing, Balog had been a skeptic about climate change. But that first trip north opened his eyes to the biggest story in human history and sparked a challenge within him that would put his career and his very well-being at risk.

Chasing Ice is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. Within months of that first trip to Iceland, the photographer conceived the boldest expedition of his life: The Extreme Ice Survey. With a band of young adventurers in tow, Balog began deploying revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the brutal Arctic to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers.

As the debate polarizes America and the intensity of natural disasters ramps up globally, Balog finds himself at the end of his tether. Battling untested technology in subzero conditions, he comes face to face with his own mortality. It takes years for Balog to see the fruits of his labor. His hauntingly beautiful videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate. Chasing Ice depicts a photographer trying to deliver evidence and hope to our carbon-powered planet.