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Welcome to the Grand Traverse Humanists. If you value science, reason, and compassion and believe that humans are responsible for their own destiny, you have come to the right place. We are a community for the non-religious in the Grand Traverse area, offering a forum for discussing and advancing a secular worldview based on our common humanity. Our programs include monthly speakers and discussions, film and book groups, and various volunteer and social events. All are free and open to the public. Check out Upcoming Events below, or click on the calendar. Nontheists, agnostics, atheists, freethinkers, rationalists, humanists, and more…we welcome you to join us!

Upcoming Events

  • G.T. Humanists Meeting: FishPass

    Monday, March 14, 7 p.m.
    Via Zoom

    Join the Grand Traverse Humanists as they present Dr. Daniel Zielinski with a presentation about FishPass, the proposed fish sorting system that would replace the present Union Street Dam on the Boardman River in Traverse City.

    Dr. Zielinski will talk about how FishPass would implement selective connectivity–that is, passing desirable species while blocking undesirable species, which could provide a solution for restoring connectivity in rivers fragmented by barriers while not compromising on-going management of undesirable and invasive species. Sorting systems for live organisms without manual intervention do not currently exist. For this reason, Great Lakes Fishery Commission and multiple partners developed an approach to selective fish passage that integrates fish ecology and biology with engineering which would be implemented at FishPass, an adaptive fish-sorting facility. FishPass would be the capstone of about 20 years of restoration of the Boardman (Ottaway) River, which would re-connect ~170 river miles with Lake Michigan.

    Dr. Daniel Zielinski is a Principal Engineer / Scientist with the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. Dan received his B.S. in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota with emphasis in water resources. He has authored numerous publications examining behavioral responses of fish to acoustic and hydrodynamic stimuli and the integration of this data into numerical models. He is currently stationed in Traverse City, MI, where he works closely with FishPass project partners to oversee construction of FishPass and develop research and assessment plans supporting FishPass objectives.

    Register in advance for this meeting:


    After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.



  • Book Club: Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe

    Sunday, January 16, 6 p.m.
    Discussion location via Zoom

    Our next discussion with be on “The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe: How to Know What’s Really Real in a World of Increasingly Full of Fake,” authors Dr. Steven Novella with Bob Novella, Cara Santa Maria, Jay Novella and Evan Bernstein c. 2018. Register for the discussion here.

    The book is available at Horizon with a discount if you mention the G.T. Humanist Book Club, TADL, Amazon and regional bookstores. Some reviews:

    “Thorough, informative, and enlightening, The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe inoculates you against the frailties and shortcomings of human cognition. If this book does not become required reading for us all, we may well see modern civilization unravel before our eyes.”―Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrophysicist, American Museum of Natural History

    “In this age of real and fake information, your ability to reason, to think in scientifically skeptical fashion, is the most important skill you can have. Read The Skeptics’ Guide Universe; get better at reasoning. And if this claim about the importance of reason is wrong, The Skeptics’ Guide will help you figure that out, too.”― Bill Nye

    “A fantastic compendium of skeptical thinking and the perfect primer for anyone who wants to separate fact from fiction.”―Richard Wiseman, Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology at University of Hertfordshire and bestselling author of 59 Seconds

    “In his 1995 book The Demon-Haunted World, the great Carl Sagan prophesied a descent into superstition and ignorance. Well, that world has arrived. Fortunately, Steve Novella and his co-authors are here to help us navigate it with critical thinking and scientifically-appropriate skepticism, along the way exposing the antiscience and pseudoscience so prevalent in our public discourse today, from confirmation bias to conspiracy theories, N-Rays to Nessie, the Face on Mars, to Flat-Eartherism.”―Michael Mann, Distinguished Professor, Penn State University and co-author of The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial is Threatening our Planet, Destroying our Politics, and Driving us Crazy



  • Dennos Museum Visit

    Sunday, November 14, 2:00 p.m.
    Dennos Museum Center
    1701 E. Front St. (1410 College Drive), Traverse City

    This month’s G.T. Humanist meeting will be held at the Dennos Museum Center on Sunday, November 14th at 2 p.m. We will be provided with a one-hour guided tour of the Temporary and Permanent Exhibits, followed by an hour to explore on our own.

    The admission fee is $6.00 for non-museum members and no charge for members. Description of the present exhibits can be found on the Dennos Museum website (www.dennosmuseum.org).

    Below is a list of guidelines to be followed while touring the museum:

    1. Coats, backpacks, umbrellas, water bottles, lunches, and other personal items are not permitted in the galleries and must be stored in the coatroom.

    2. MASKS are REQUIRED at all NMC buildings even if one is vaccinated.

    3. Arrive 5 minutes prior to the tour.

    If you are planning to join us, please RSVP to marlene.smith8@gmail.com by the morning of Nov. 10 as the maximum group size is 20. If the number of interested participants exceeds 20 then plans will be made to secure another docent for our tour. 



  • G.T. Humanists Book Club: Freethinkers by Susan Jacoby

    Sunday, October 24, 6:00 p.m.
    Via Zoom 

    At a time when the separation of church and state is under attack as never before, Freethinkers offers a powerful defense of the secularist heritage that gave Americans the first government in the world founded not on the authority of religion but on the bedrock of human reason. In impassioned, elegant prose, celebrated author Susan Jacoby traces more than two hundred years of secularist activism, beginning with the fierce debate over the omission of God from the Constitution. Moving from nineteenth-century abolitionism and suffragism through the twentieth century’s civil liberties, civil rights, and feminist movements, Freethinkers illuminates the neglected achievements of secularists who, allied with tolerant believers, have led the battle for reform in the past and today.
    Rich with such iconic figures as Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Paine, and the once-famous Robert Green Ingersoll, Freethinkers restores to history the passionate humanists who struggled against those who would undermine the combination of secular government and religious liberty that is the glory of the American system.
    We will meet by Zoom to discuss this book on October 24 at 6 p.m. Click here to register with Zoom and receive your own unique link to join the discussion.

  • G.T. Humanists Meeting: Lower Boardman Plan

    Monday, September 13, 6:30 p.m.
    TCF Bank parking lot (former Chemical Bank), 203 S. Union St., Traverse City

    Join the Grand Traverse Humanists for a guided walking tour of the lower Boardman and learn about plans to develop a comprehensive plan for the 1.6 miles of river that meanders through downtown Traverse City.

    The Lower Boardman Leadership Team has recently developed preliminary recommendations around zoning regulations and land use, public access, capital improvements and habitat management. Once implemented, the Lower Boardman River will – for the first time – have a plan with a cohesive vision for the river corridor. The leadership team is now reaching out to the community for feedback, comments and suggestions. More information available here: https://dda.downtowntc.com/lower-boardman-river-unified…/

    The tour will be conducted by Harry Burkholder, Chief Operations Officer for the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority. Prior to working with the DDA, Harry served as executive director of the Land Information Access Association. He also serves on the boards for Paddle Antrim and the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance.

    We will meet at 6:30 p.m. in the TCF Bank parking lot (formerly Chemical Bank) on Union Street, across from the Post Office.



  • Humanists Ride on the Betsie Valley Trail

    Sunday, July 18, 11 a.m.
    Beulah Trailhead and Visitor Center (at Prospect and Crystal Ave.)

    Join the Grand Traverse Humanists as they bike on the Betsie Valley Trail from Beulah to Frankfort and back, a round trip of 20 miles on flat, mostly paved terrain (3 miles of trail is crushed aggregate, so skinny-tired road bikes may not be ideal for this trip). We’ll have lunch in Frankfort before heading back, perhaps at Stormcloud Brewing Co. Meet at 11:00 at the Beulah trailhead and visitor center, located at a renovated train depot building right in downtown Beulah, at the corner of Prospect Ave. and Crystal Ave.