alison teal and Ger Tysk

Alison Teal and Ger Tysk will be featured in Hope College’s NEA Big Read Lakeshore’s November programming.

Teal, known for her presence on TikTok and her conservation efforts across social media, will discuss her adventures and conservation work around the world in an event designed to entertain children and adults alike. Tysk is noted for being a female sailor and whaling historian. She will discuss how the whaling industry looks different today compared to when “In the Heart of the Sea,” this year’s featured book, took place.

Teal will present “Ocean Adventures with Alison Teal,” on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, at 7 p.m., and Tysk will present “Whales, Whaling and Sailing” on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020, at 7 p.m.  Due to COVID-19, the events will be hosted virtually.

These two presentations will be part of a larger program for the NEA Big Read Lakeshore, centered around Nathaniel Philbrick’s “In the Heart of the Sea.” The program will discuss themes of culture and inclusion, sustainability and conservation, literature and adventure and exploration.

“We use our Big Read book as a springboard for our readers to encounter new topics and issues. This year, we’re delighted to involve both Alison and Ger in our program. We’re excited for our readers to meet and be inspired by them,” said Dr. Deborah Van Duinen, director of NEA Big Read Lakeshore.

More information, including the full program schedule for this year’s NEA Big Read Lakeshore, can be found on

Dubbed by Time Magazine the “female Indiana Jones,” Alison Teal has inspired millions through her captivating stories. Teal spent her childhood exploring remote corners of the Earth, encountering interesting people and places and investigating the world’s greatest myths and legends. From her “home sweet treehouse” in Hawaii to Trash Island in the Maldives, her adventures have taken her around the world and left her with a passion to inspire others to live more sustainably.

Her new book, “Alison’s Adventures,” is based on her popular series with the same name. The book, described as a “passport to adventure,” contains her stories and first-hand accounts of adventure from well-known locations to far-off places.

Ger Tysk is a professional tall-ship sailor and historian, focusing on the history of American whaling in the 19th century. She currently resides in New Bedford, Massachusetts, which was considered a hub for the whaling industry in the 19th century.

Tysk is a United States Air Force veteran, serving two tours of duty during her active duty career. She read “Moby Dick” for the first time when she was 26 years old. Being from Texas, she had never heard of the whaling industry, but as she devoured information about it became enamored with it. The NEA Big Read Lakeshore’s 2020 book selection, “In the Heart of the Sea,” made a big impact on her.

After developing a passion for learning about the whaling industry, Tysk became a professional sailor. She now has a Coast Guard Merchant Mariner credential with an Able Seaman endorsement.

In addition to her dedication to maritime adventure and scholarship, Tysk is an artist, writer and professional graphic designer. She is a brand consultant for small businesses and nonprofits.

Hope College's NEA Big Read Lakeshore program began in 2014 with the goal to create and foster a culture where reading matters. By bringing the Lakeshore community together around a common book, Big Read Lakeshore uses the shared experience of reading, discussing and exploring the themes of the book as a springboard to listen from and learn from each other.

The Big Read Lakeshore is made possible in part by a grant from the NEA Big Read, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.