About Us

Friends of the Detroit River is leading the planning efforts for this year’s Detroit River Water Festival on Belle Isle. The island is an ideal location for interpretation (Aquarium, Conservatory, Dossin Great Lakes museum, Nature Zoo), and to feature the rare habitats and restoration work implemented by partners on the island.

Event History

The Detroit River Water Festival is an effort by DTE Energy Foundation and Cranbrook Institute of Science to bring back the Detroit River Water Festival for area school children. It is modeled after the many water festivals that take place in the region including the UM Dearborn Rouge River Water Festival, Cranbrook Rouge River Water Festival, Clinton River Water Festival, Lake St. Clair Water Festival and the Essex Region Children’s Waterfest. The original Detroit River Water Festival, from 2000 to 2004, was hosted by Wayne County Community College and organized by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department and many of the current sponsors and partners. It ended in 2004 due to funding issues. Festival partners were pleased to bring back this outstanding educational experience to DPS students in 2012, 2013, 2014 on the Riverwalk, and on Belle Isle in 2015.

The 2017 Detroit River Water festival is made possible through the following partnerships:

  • Detroit Public Schools
  • Detroit RiverFront Conservancy
  • Detroit Water and Sewerage Department
  • DTE Energy
  • Friends of the Detroit River
  • Friends of the Rouge River
  • International Joint Commission
  • Michigan Department of Natural Resources
  • Michigan Sea Grant
  • Sierra Club Great Lakes Program
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • U.S. Forest Service
  • Wayne County Community College
  • Wayne County Department of Public Services
  • Wayne State University
The 2017 Detroit River Water Festival is unique in that it endeavors to bring U.S. and Canadian children together to learn about water along their common border – the Detroit River and uses the resource itself as part of the learning experience.

Board Members

David Howell – Chairman
Peter Benz – Vice Chairman
Matthew Shackelford – Treasurer
Ron Fadoir – Secretary
Robert Burns – Board Member
Frank Corl – Board Member
Melissa Damaschke – Board Member
John Darin – Board Member
Ronald Fodor – Board Member
Karen Gallagher – Board Member
Laurine Griffin – Board Member
Jane Mackey – Board Member
Michael Sproul – Board Member

Robert Burns – Riverkeeper
Tricia Blicharski – Dir. of Operations
LouAnn Durand – Office Admin