The Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior group is looking for some help, especially from students and artists.

The non-profit, which is based in Thunder Bay, Ont., strives to preserve, protect and promote public access to several historic navigational beacons - Trowbridge, Porphyry and Number Ten lighthouses - which are currently leased from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

It's again offering summer jobs to students and running a popular artist-in-residence program, said Paul Capon, the group's chair.

In 2016, summer students were responsible for the maintenance of the buildings, grounds and lights themselves as well as meeting with the public.

But Capon said they also put together an inventory of wild plants, identifying 34 that are indigenous to Porphyry Island.

"Some are quite unique and some are quite dangerous," he said, pointing to the Devil's Club. "You have to have a warning on it because you'll get a rash, and it's very painful."

The students, who spent the summer months at the lighthouses, also found a variety of Arctic and sub-Arctic plants.

The artists-in-residence, meanwhile, get a chance to create their work over a two-week period in a rustic, distraction-free environment, said Capon.

"You have the opportunity to be in a beautiful location that's very quiet and comes with a lot of history and just a chance to take a timeout and really focus on your art in a different venue."

Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior

Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior, based in Thunder Bay, Ont., has created several videos showcasing the historic navigational beacons, as well as building a working scale model, complete with flashing light. (Cathy Alex/CBC )

The group is also planning several other projects, including raising funds through a dinner May 5 to buy a boat, he said.

"People have told us we'd like to come and help, or we'd like to come and see it, but we don't have any way to get there, so transportation has been one of the biggest barriers to experiencing these lighthouses." 

Capon said the group is also creating the Lighthouse Trail, which will be a water-based section of the TransCanada trail. The group is designing special signs to help boaters and sea kayakkers navigate from lighthouse to lighthouse, and to teach them more about the history of the beacons, said Capon.

"This year as well, we're going to be putting up historical markers from Parks Canada to highlight the lives of lighthouse keepers and their experiences there," he said.