Sunday, November 15, 2015

Great Lakes Education

People need to know about the Great Lakes

In Touch with the World through the www
People who live around the Great Lakes often take them for granted.  I wrote The Dynamic Great Lakes, to give people enough information to make intelligent choices in their every day lives about the world’s greatest freshwater system.  The Dynamic Great Lakes is a book about their ecology and the mistakes people have made when altering the landscape by making locks for shipping, destroying wetlands or introducing new species both intentionally and unintentionally.  It was my aim in writing this book to make people appreciate these lakes and understand what they might do for their betterment.
Most people do not understand the significance of the Great Lakes.  They are twenty per cent of the world’s fresh surface water and need to be protected.  These lakes’ freshwater will be hotly contested as more and more industries and people in arid parts of the world would like to exploit them. It is indeed happening now.   Some large freshwater lakes in the world have been destroyed—drawn down to nothing through a lack of understanding.
Bottling plants have their eyes on the Great Lakes.  Bottling water and shipping it out of the watershed will destroy the integrity of the lakes and their unique ecosystems.  People in the Great Lakes watershed argue that the water belongs to the commons and should not be sold for private profit.  There are many more issues the book addresses: directional drilling for oil, nuclear power plants, exotic species, wetlands, sand dunes and pollution from industries and municipalities. 
I wrote the book and created this website so that people might find the information they need about the Great Lakes. It gives the basics and yet limnologists have told me they learned things about the Great Lakes they did not know, while general readers have told me that they never appreciated the Great Lakes until they read my book.  Another motive in writing the book was to raise consciousness about the greatest freshwater system on the surface of Earth and the need to protect what we have.  Armed with such knowledge, people are in a good position to make good decisions about the lakes.
One of the first educational websites and newsletters that featured The Dynamic Great Lakes website was  in the U.K.  I have had responses from around the globe: Germany, France, USSR, Scandinavia, China, and many other places.  I believe the world wants to know about the Great Lakes.
The Dynamic Great Lakes has been added to the National Clearinghouse of Math and Science, The Eisenhower Regional Consoritia (enc online)  a database for math and science, a resource widely used by schools.
 I  have given talks about the ever-changing Great Lakes at several bookstores, libraries and museums as well as schools.
Several public radio stations, and several public television stations have interviewed me and prominently displayed my book cover and URL as the program was aired, or in the case of radio, repeated the URL of my website over the air several times. 
The Dynamic Great Lakes, the book, will be listed as a resource in an educational program under development for the Great Lakes in Michigan.  The book is also listed as a resource in a book published by Michigan State University 
Because of a great many favorable reviews, the book has been critically acclaimed and re released by Independence Books.  It has also been updated with new material.  The Dynamic Great Lakes is in its fourth printing.  I believe that having a website has helped get the word out and this led to the book being chosen by the publisher to be re released. 

 If we do not work to conserve our life giving freshwater, we may find that the integrity of the lakes is damaged beyond repair.  My website allows people to see satellite views of the Great Lakes as well as places around the Great Lakes of interest: Chicago, Cleveland, Lake Michigan with its singing sands, the Door Peninsula in Canada and the Bruce Peninsula in Canada with their limestone formations, population centers, invasive species, fish, both endemic and planted or accidentally released into the lakes.
A website can be a valuable adjunct to a book.    To keep the website fresh, I change it from time to time.  I have published other books, The Wilderness Within, a book of poems and a few essays. It is about wild places in the world and within the self; Sophia's Lost and Found, poems of above and below, and Between Sweetwater and Sand.  Although different genres, these books were  written with a deep appreciation of nature.
My poems are published on other websites that appreciate my work, the PW Review, Artvilla, Prairie Poetry, Wise Women’s Web, Betsie’s Literary Page, Creative Women’s Network UK.; Care2  These websites can be accessed around the globe.   In this way I can publish new work until I decide to publish another collection of poetry.  There is a community of poets who support and appreciate one another.
There is a community of people who are involved in the work of educating about the environment, and groups whose aim is to make a difference in improving the environment.  I can be in touch with these groups with a few keystrokes.  They let me know what is new and often send good feedback about my website.  Often we trade links.
These websites are Environmental Education on the internet (EE link); National Science Teachers Association (nst);;;; Presbyterians for Restoring Nature;; eco-portal; getCited; Book Sense; Care2 Environment Supersite; Michigan Authors and Illustrators Search Page; waterwebring;, a clever literary website; Creative Womens Network; A Celebration of Women Writers; Snakeskin; Teacher Talk Earth and Sky;, a literary website and Poets House in New York City,
Some of the most ardent conservationists are outdoorsmen and women.  I won an award from Water and Woods for my website.  I contribute articles to websites and sometimes they review my book:  Lakeland Boating has such a website as does Great Lakes Boating;; Fishing With Rod, a website in British Columbia where my book was reviewed; Float Fishing, a website in Toronto.
I can be in touch with communities in far-flung places with my website.  My book is available to purchase in other countries such as Canada, Japan, Germany, England, and France, Australia through various on-line stores.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Smitty the Mastodont

Mastodont Bones Found

In l985, the gigantic bones of a mastodont were found in

 Grandville, a city in West Michigan. A family digging the

foundation of a new house reported the find to Dr. Richard

Flanders, an anthropologist at Grand Valley State University

and Dr. Flanders along with his anthropology students began

the task of digging up the skeleton of the Ice Age animal

very carefully so that none of the bones would be lost or

destroyed in the process.

After all the bones had been carefully reassembled, they

could learn a great deal about Smitty, a name the students

gave to the ancient animal. Smitty weighed as much as a

school bus and his huge tusks were supported by a very

powerful neck.

Some parts of Smitty were missing, the brain and the

legs. They wondered if Smitty might have been hunted and

then killed by paleo indians because these would have been

the choice cuts of meat. Professor Flanders took some of the

bones to a butcher for his opinion. Flanders suspected that

the animal had been butchered for its meat. The butcher told

him that it looked to him as if the bones had been butchered

in the same way butchers still cut meat today.

The place where Smitty was found also led Dr. Flanders

and his students to believe that the mastodont had been

driven into a pit by a number of hunters and their dogs where

he could be killed with stone weapons.

Although the mastodonts and their larger relatives the

mammoths were numerous at the end of the Ice Age and

quite a few of their bones have been found in the Great

Lakes basin, they disappeared from the face of the Earth

along with the other mega sized animals.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Enbridge Pipeline Under Straits of Mackinac

 Did you know that the currents that run through the Straits of Mackinac are 10 times stronger than the current of the Niagra River? That's one of many reasons it's a terrible idea to have 23 million gallons of oil passing through those waters daily - imagine how quickly those currents could move leaking oil across the #GreatLakes Help us #ShutDownLine5 - Visit

Click the links above for more information and how you could help.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Isle Royale in Lake Superior

Greenstones,  Wolves, Moose, Thimbleberries, and the Isle Royale redfin lake trout


On the map, Isle Royale looks like the eye in the wolf’s head shape of Lake Superior with Duluth its snout and the Keweenaw Peninsula its mouth.  It is precious since there are few places left on this planet that have been preserved like this.  It is unique; some of the oldest rocks on this planet form Isle Royale, its plants and animals  and minerals.  There are copper mining pits on the Island where native Americans dug rich veins of copper long ago.


     When I think of Isle Royale, I think of Eden, a place away from cars and the noise of machinery. There is no traffic on Isle Royale; only hiking trails.   The sounds of Isle Royale are of bugling moose, the silvery songs of northern songbirds, the lapping of waves on rocks and the quavering voices of loons.  Sometimes there is the slap of a beaver’s tail.  The resident pack of wolves are elusive and seldom seen.  We did not hear them at all.

     My husband and I hiked the trails there and I’ll never forget the thimbleberries  higher than our heads along a trail.  We picked the large berries like none other I have ever tasted, copper color, tangy and delicious.

          We found greenstones, Michigan’s semi precious stone.  We stayed on Isle Royale for a week and every day we took a different hiking trail.  We watched a diving duck teaching her young to dive.  We saw a fox near its den, and had a close encounter with a moose.   As we hiked, my husband Norm said, “I smell a moose.”  I didn’t believe him, but as we came around the bend, there it was, bigger than life, standing athwart our trail.  We kept a respectful distance and it casually strolled off.


          We did not fish, but the rocks off of the island are the place where the Isle Royale redfin lake trout spawn as they have for millennia.  This is an endemic species and its good to know it is still returning to Isle Royale every year before returning to the depths of Lake Superior.


          In my book, The Dynamic Great Lakes, I have a section devoted to this very special fish, the Isle Royale redfin lake trout.



Thursday, September 24, 2015

One Thousand Sturgeon

1000 sturgeon planted  follow the link to the latest news about sturgeon.

Read more about the sturgeon in the Great Lakes in my book, The Dynamic Great Lakes.
This book is available in paperback and on Kindle., etc.

the 5 Great Lakes as seen from space.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Round Gobies in Lake Michigan

BY RYAN MATUZAK Local Columnist Traverse City
Here in Grand Traverse Region, we can try for many different species of fish in a single trip — the interesting part is how one of the more recent invasive fish plays a part in the catching. Round gobies cover the floor of the lake and bays at most every depth. They are one of the most visible and abundant fish on the bottom of the lake. Any cover on the bottom will attract gobies. In their home waters of the Black Sea, they prefer eating small crustaceans and invertebrates, along with zebra and quagga mussels. Since our lake bottom is covered with these mussels, there is plenty of food for the gobies — in addition to competing for food with the native fish species.
When I go out fishing now with a particular species in mind, gobies are part of the equation. In the Grand Traverse Bays and Lake Michigan, finding cover or structure that the gobies live on will have more fish that are looking to eat. These areas continue to draw feeding fish based on the gobies reproduction cycle. The average mature 1-2-year-old female goby spawns every 20 days from April until September. As many as 5,000 eggs are laid in each nest. That is a lot of different-sized prey fish entering the system for around six months of the year. These fish are rich in vitamin B, which helps the reproduction of the fish eating them. Natural reproduction in native fish has gone up in areas where the alewife populations have gone down and gobies numbers are up. Alewives are a decent food source for fish with their fatty acids but they do not help reproduction because they are vitamin B-deficient. I've found gobies in nearly every species of fish caught in the Great Lakes and connecting waters in the last decade. Our perch eat the juveniles and big perch are full of 1-inch gobies. The local lake trout have a steady diet of almost exclusively gobies. We catch them in 10- to 200- feet of water trolling and jigging vertically — all of them have gobies in them. And yes, we have seen some chinook salmon this year full of gobies. There were not a lot of salmon eating them but we have seen more this year than in all of the years since gobies' arrival combined. Our prized smallmouth bass fishery here in the Grand Traverse Region is also benefiting from the abundant goby population right where the bass like to live. The bass are found feeding on gobies in water right up to the beach and as deep recently as 80 feet of water. Tube baits do a great job of mimicking a goby. If you do happen to catch gobies when you are fishing your next time out, don’t be surprised. Just remember that spot may have some of your favorite target species nearby just waiting to bite your line next! Ryan Matuzak runs fishing trips in the Grand Traverse region — North Country Sportfishing, LLC — and is a board member of the Grand Traverse Area Sport Fishing Association. To learn more, drop him a line at:

Lake Michigan

Monday, July 20, 2015

Fishing in Lake Michigan

Coho and Chinook Salmon, Pacific Salmon are now being caught in Lake Michigan. People are now catching perch and lake run steelhead from piers.
 Read more about fishing in the Great Lakes in The Dynamic Great Lakes.  The book is available online at,, The Bookman in Grand Haven, MI, Schuler's Books and Music in Grand Rapids and Lansing and many other places.

Critically acclaimed by those interested in fishing and the freshwater seas.