Catching Up with Environmental Entrepreneur Lucy Jones at Year’s End

Traverse City teen makes and sells jewelry and stickers to benefit the Great Lakes.


Above: Lucy Jones photographs stickers featuring her original designs for advertising on her Up North Jewelry website and social media. (All photos courtesy of Lucy Jones)


When FLOW first wrote about Lucy Jones—the inspiring Traverse City teen who creates and sells jewelry to benefit the Great Lakes—last February, our supporters were moved by her environmental ethic and enterprising spirit. So we thought it was fitting to catch up with Lucy at year’s end with her holiday sales in full swing.

An Up North Jewelry bracelet by Lucy Jones displayed on the beach.

Lucy, a ninth grader turning 15 later this month, donates a portion of proceeds from sales of her beaded bracelets, waterproof stickers, and other items to FLOW, which is working with you to keep the Great Lakes public and protected for all. She markets her wares at venues primarily in Traverse City, as well as online, with the slogan, “Protecting the Great Lakes Never Looked So Good.”

Up North Jewelry’s slogan: “Protecting the Great Lakes Never Looked So Good.”

 Check out Lucy’s self-designed Up North Jewelry website, as well as her Facebook and Instagram, for all the offerings. Be sure to note that the last day to order in time for Christmas is December 15, and then after a break, Lucy will resume filling orders on December 22 for post-Christmas delivery.

FLOW thrives on these creative collaborations with teens and young adults—the Next Generation—who take action and lead the way to protect fresh water. We spoke recently with Lucy about her current activities and plans, her passion for the Great Lakes and other social issues, and her personal inspirations. She also offers some sage advice to people of all ages about diving creatively into social activism.

FLOW thrives on these creative collaborations with teens and young adults—the Next Generation—who take action and lead the way to protect fresh water.

FLOW: Please bring us up to date. What have you been up to lately with Up North Jewelry and in your life as a teenager and student?

The process of making earrings, one of Lucy Jones’ most popular items.

Lucy: Recently I have participated in two shows, one at Crooked Tree Art Center in Traverse City and one at the Starry Starry Night downtown sale in Grand Marais in the Upper Peninsula, selling my jewelry. My most popular items are my smiley face earrings and the wildflower bracelet set, though recently at shows people have enjoyed creating their own sets by combining different color bracelets. I also keep busy with piano, Key Club, debate class, tennis, photography, and downhill skiing.

FLOW: What’s happening during the holiday season, and what’s next?

Lucy: I always have my jewelry and stickers available online at my website. (Note: The last day to order in time for Christmas is December 15, and then after a break, Lucy will resume filling orders on December 22 for post-Christmas delivery). Along with that, I have three art show dates coming up at Right Brain Brewery in Traverse City, on January 7, February 11, and March 4. I have just started to make some new bracelets and hopefully begin to work on new stickers.

FLOW: What do you love about the Great Lakes?

Lucy: The Great Lakes are beautiful! I love to explore new trails and beaches near the Great Lakes. Every year my family goes to the Upper Peninsula to camp.

The Great Lakes are beautiful! I love to explore new trails and beaches near the Great Lakes.

Lucy Jones enjoys a Lake Michigan sunset.

This year I went to Marquette, and one of my favorite places was Presque Isle. Near this was the Black Rocks, which were so much fun to jump from into Lake Superior! 

FLOW: What do you hear from customers and others about the Great Lakes?

Lucy: When I am talking to customers, family, and friends, many express worries about the Great Lakes. I hear “thank you” a lot, and many people tell me they know about FLOW. I also hear a lot of customers talking to me about Line 5 and their concerns about that. I definitely think that is my biggest concern right now is Line 5 leaking crude oil and natural gas liquids into Lake Michigan (which has several tributaries crossed by Enbridge’s nearly 70-year-old pipeline). 

When I am talking to customers, many express worries about the Great Lakes. I hear “thank you” a lot, and many people tell me they know about FLOW. I also hear a lot of customers talking to me about Line 5 and their concerns about that.

Usually I am the youngest person at the event. I actually think it’s beneficial to me to learn from other people with more experience, and people are so helpful and welcoming.

FLOW: What do you enjoy about being an environmental entrepreneur? What’s hard about it?

I love setting things up at the booth, creating new stickers when I have time, engaging people through social media, and learning how to create a website. I’ve gained experience communicating with all types of people through my shows. 

It can be stressful, though, when I need to create a lot of items before a show when I’m busy with school and clubs and sports.

My Grandmother is one of my big inspirations. She is a social activist, and since I was little, it has been instilled in me how important it is to protect the Great Lakes and our environment.

FLOW: Who inspires you to be active socially? And how did you learn about FLOW?

Sticker display featuring original designs by Lucy Jones at a recent show at the Crooked Tree Art Center Show in Traverse City.

Lucy: My Grandmother is one of my big inspirations. She is a social activist, and since I was little, it has been instilled in me how important it is to protect the Great Lakes and our environment. When I was little, my grandmother would take me on walks, and I would hug the trees. This was not something that I had thought of on my own.

Living in Traverse City and being just a walk from the beach my entire life has created a love for the water and the Great Lakes. This motivated me to donate to an organization working to protect the lakes. My family also knew about FLOW before I did, and that awareness led me to choosing FLOW.

FLOW: What other causes are you passionate about? The colorful stickers you create speak to love, music, and even solidarity with Ukraine.

I am very passionate about many other causes, including reproductive rights, that everyone should be able to love whomever they want to love, and everyone should be seen as equal regardless of their age, sex, religion, or skin color. People like that I have an opinion even if they don’t agree.

Lucy: I am very passionate about many other causes. I have strong opinions on reproductive rights and that a woman should be able to choose what she does with her body. I believe that everyone should be able to love whomever they want to love, and everyone should be seen as equal regardless of their age, sex, religion, or skin color. I really like making a difference, even if it’s not a huge difference, and talking to people about their different views. People like that I have an opinion even if they don’t agree.

I’ve also have learned that the more that I do with these causes, the more interested I am and the more I want to learn about them. I have the basic background, but when I listen to the news, I am more interested in the latest information.

Bracelets by Lucy Jones set up for the recent Crooked Tree Art Center show in Traverse City.

FLOW: What’s your advice to other young people—and people of all ages—about making social change?

The advice I would give to anyone is to use your passion and skill to motivate you. If you are passionate enough about something, you can do great things with it.

Lucy: The advice I would give to anyone is to use your passion and skill to motivate you. If you are passionate enough about something, you can do great things with it. The combination of passion and skill is so powerful. Harriet Tubman said, “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars, to change the world.”


Editor’s note: FLOW invites other young leaders to send us their ideas for protecting the Great Lakes. Reach us at info@flowforwater.org.

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Traverse City teen makes and sells jewelry and stickers to benefit the Great Lakes.