Saturday, May 11, 2019
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
When I think of Isle Royale, I think of
, a place away from
cars and the noise of machinery. There is no traffic on Eden 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
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,
’s semi precious
stone. We stayed on Michigan 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
We did not fish, but the rocks off of the island are the place where the
redfin lake trout spawn as they have for millennia. This is an endemic species and it’s 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
Royale redfin lake trout.
Tuesday, May 7, 2019
The Detroit Free Press
Water levels are surging in the
Great Lakes and likely will set
records this summer, forecasters said Monday — a remarkable turnaround from
earlier this decade that's bringing welcome relief to shippers and marina
owners, but causing flooding and heavy erosion in some areas.
A six-month bulletin from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers predicted Lake Superior and Lake Erie soon will reach unprecedented high points, as a heavy winter snowpack across the region's northern section melts and mingles with water gushing into the lakes from rivers swollen with spring rainfall.
Levels have been trending upward at varying rates since 2013, when
Lakes Huron and Michigan
fell to their lowest points and the other Great Lakes
were significantly below normal. That was the nadir of a nearly 15-year slump
that stranded pleasure boats, forced cargo vessels to lighten loads, dried up
wetlands and fueled conspiracy theories that water was somehow being siphoned
off to the parched West.
"It's quite the shift," said Keith Kompoltowicz, chief of watershed hydrology with the Corps' district office in
Friday, April 26, 2019
The north woods ring—the waters gather dripping from the tops of pines, running, running, running over ancient rocks. The veerys trill up and down the scales, the warblers chime their notes through still bare twigs and the water runs, it runs down to Lake Superior swirling downstream, plunging over waterfalls just freed from ice curtains. Curious deer come to drink from the pool below lifting their heads, standing motionless to sense the air. Is it bear? Wolf? Lynx?
Sun dapples down through bare forest trees—sun streams, the ground steams, wet leaves tilt insisting on light, thrust new spikes. Water flows through mobile root hairs, roots, stems, vaporizes into air.
Wild geese weave the wind, skid along black marsh water among tangles of cat tail. Further downstream waves curl onto a rock shore polishing stones to oval and the small stones roll chinking and chunking. They assume their flat round shapes over years of grinding, finding their ease in the wave rhythms, rolling rolling, rolling. White caps bubble foam and the jade water is a dancing goddess in the middle distance between shore and horizon.
Children arrive to pick up fossils of ancient coral and to find stones to skip on a quiet day. They chase sea gulls and try to become airborne by leaping and spreading their arms. Cormorants and sooty terns rise and cleave the air. The red cheeked kids leap in the early spring breezes, their knuckles chapped. What do they care?
The bones of whales and sailors roll in the currents—some finding their way out to sea, some becoming, becoming, becoming a diatom’s shining, becoming the bones of an emerald shiner, becoming limestone shale in the loving exchange between the living and the living. The islands of
Superior bear greenstones and jewel like snakes. Sturgeon
and trout spawn leaving pearls and coral in the crevices of rocks. A
moose stands chin deep in and island lake. The islands of Lake Superior are quiet, remote and cold, littered
Curled underground, water drawn up through squeaky pumps splashes into enamel buckets—water clear and cold and tasting of iron. The iron flows through the veins of the moose and in the red cheeked children.
Loons quiver their greetings and as twilight falls, bullfrogs groan their love songs—they bellow all night long. I lay awake listening to the water lapping the night and its creatures.
by Barbara Spring
Friday, April 19, 2019
The Return of Eagles, Ospreys, Peregrine Falcons
read Silent Spring by Rachel
Carson. He wondered how anyone could
read the book and not do something about the harm DDT was causing to the
environment. He was living right across the street from Central Park at the
time and the city of Norm Spring Grand Haven, would spray the
elm trees for Dutch Elm disease with DDT.
He was told he could move his car, but along with his wife he had two
small children and the house and places where the young children played would
be coated with DDT. The problem was DDT
did not kill the elm beetle. it soaked into the ground and everyone could see
robins trembling in their death throes in the grass. The spray washed down the streets and into
the storm drains so DDT entered Michigan Lake Michigan
where it was caught up in food chains.
The fish became highly contaminated with DDT.
Fish eating birds such as the American Bald Eagle were affected since their eggs became thin and cracked as a result of DDT and did not hatch. Norm went to every meeting of the
Grand Haven City
Council for three years and finally the Council agreed to
stop their DDT program. Grand Haven
People came from a nearby city and asked “How did you do that?” and together they formed the
Michigan Pesticides Council that met at . Among the members were: Michigan State
University , chairman, Joan
Wolfe, ornithologists Dr. Ted Black, Dr. George Wallace, Dr. John Kitchel, Charles Schick, Ann Van Lente, , Joseph
Kleiman, Theodore Carbine. Due to their
work DDT and like pesticides were banned in Norm
in 1972 and then the ban went nation wide and followed. Canada
Today the Eagles, Ospreys and Peregrine Falcons have returned to the shores of the Great Lakes, the
United States and because
the democratic process worked. Canada
Norm was inducted into The Michigan Environmental Hall of Fame in 2014 for his work on behalf of the environment.
Think Globally and Act Locally.
Friday, April 12, 2019
Mourning the Loss
I mourn the loss of what used to be even before I was born. This was my motivation for writing The Dynamic Great Lakes. I care about the environment so much that I had to do something.
When I think of the 500 year old white pines that used to be where I live, I feel a sadness. White pines were called white gold and used for the masts of ships, and in West Michigan, these trees rebuilt
When I think of the sturgeon that were killed and burned like cord wood because they fouled fishermen's nets, I want to cry.
Glacial relics remain in the dunes and wetlands such as the arctic primrose. The names of flowers are lovely: grass pink, lady's tresses, ramshead ladyslipper. The fragrances of these flowers are in my imagination. Very few are really found.
Few are found because dunes and wetlands have been leveled.
When Jaques Cartier reached the
Now harmful chemicals are found in the air, water and soil and this is really something to grieve. This was my motivation for writing The Dynamic Great Lakes. I care about the environment so much that I had to do something. This book shows what some people working on grassroots committees have been able to do. It is a hopeful book. It is a beginning. Without basic knowledge about the
Monday, January 28, 2019
There is information needed to make good decisions about the Great Lakes. The reading level is middle school through adult.
It's a great book for people who like to fish. It shows what kind of fish may be caught in each of the Great Lakes: Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River.
Let me know if you would like to order a copy for yourself or a friend. Send a check for $17.00 plus your mailing address to: Barbara Spring, 1416 Lake Ave. Grand Haven, MI