Ella Skrocki - The Leelanau Conservancy

Ella Skrocki

Raised in the Village of Empire, amidst the heart of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Ella’s lifeblood and livelihood stems from the health of the mighty Great Lakes. She lives for the natural, open spaces of the Leelanau Peninsula, and both the calm & chaos of the boundless freshwater playground just outside her door.

Grandfathered in along the National Lakeshore; nestled in the forest at the base of the big Dune, lies the Lewis family cottage. This was where Ella’s mother, Beryl, spent her summers, and every weekend in between, falling deeper in love with the water and the wild. It is then where that same love, respect, and connection to the lake & the landscape was instilled in Ella.

It was this same passion that inspired Ella’s parents to take a leap of faith and open Michigan’s first full-service surf shop in 2004.

Sleeping Bear Surf has shaped Ella in profound ways, and is at the core of who she is. Having grown within the business, she now has the honor of sharing her love of the lake and joy found in riding waves through giving lessons, leading camps, and guiding retreats. Her goal is to inspire connection to the lake, for both the benefit of mental health, and in hopes of creating more imperfect advocates for the protection of this freshwater playground.

Even while escaping to surf between classes, Ella earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies & Sustainability at Northern Michigan University which has helped guide her passion for the environment into purposeful work through various environmental organizations, and now within the business.

Her adventurous spirit and interest in creative life learning experiences have taken her as far as the high reaches of the Himalaya and to the peaks of pristine point breaks. Each bit of exploration always brings Ella back to Leelanau, with a greater appreciation and love for Home, as well as a deep desire to protect the open spaces that continue to hold her.

In the weeks before October 13th, 2022, the trails of the Leelanau Conservancy, particularly those of the Chippewa Run Natural Area, became a place of solace for Ella and her mother, as Beryl sought a peaceful walk close to home amidst a cruel, and cruelly short battle with cancer.

Now more than ever, the Leelanau Conservancy holds a deep-rooted place in Ella’s heart. It is her immense honor to now be a part of this Collective; to continue to nurture her commitment to this place; to home.