Friday, July 30, 2010

Purple Loosestrife: an invasive

Over 180 invasive species have entered the Great Lakes and their wetlands.  Pictured is purple loosestrife, a European plant that will take over a wetland like the Mafia takes over a neighborhood.

 Native species do not stand a chance against it.  Wetlands serve as natural filters for pollutants and help prevent floods.  The species of plants that evolved around the Great Lakes serve an important purpose in their ecology. 

Read more on this topic in my book, The Dynamic Great Lakes.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Lake Huron Georgian Bay

Georgian Bay on Lake Huron could almost be called another Great Lake since it is so large.  Pictured is an alvar, a limestone plain where rare plants may be found.  I used this photo for the cover of my book, The Dynamic Great Lakes.  In the Bruce Peninsula, Canada, I hiked the Bruce trail and saw plants found nowhere else.  The Bruce Peninsula is a finger of land that is part of the Niagara escarpment.  The Door Peninsula in Lake Michigan is also a part of this escarpment.

I cruised the waters of Georgian Bay in a glass bottom boat and saw shipwrecks beneath the green waters.  Many shipwrecks also lie under the waters around the Door Peninsula. Sailors used to call this Death's Door.

There are alvars on Wisconsin's Door Peninsula also. 

Books by Barbara Spring

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Lake Superior's Wild Shore and Michipicoten Island

Roaring waterfalls, dark pine forests, moose, bear and hiking trails abound on Lake Superior's wild shore.  Bird watchers will enjoy these wild places.

Kayaking, boating and fishing here are popular in the summer.  By fall, the weather may become too cold and the waters too rough for most.

Native Americans living on Lake Superior's shores avoided landing on Michipicoten Island they believe was inhabited by the Manitou of waters and fishes: Michibichi.  They asked this spirit to keep them safe and to grant them an abundant catch.  They also believed the gods who lived below the water gave them copper.

There are islands to explore although some are difficult to reach such as  Michipicoten Island.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Nipigon Bay on Lake Superior, Ontario Canada

Nipigon Bay on Lake Superior is fed by many small gurgling tributary streams from the north that flow into Lake Nipigon and then for 90 miles through the Nipigon River. This is the northernmost point of Lake Superior.

This is the high north; the habitat lake trout and brook trout.  Sometimes a caribou is seen.

The scenery is beautiful but sadly, both Thunder Bay and Nipigon Bay have been designated  as Areas of Concern due to pollution. The government of Canada is working to remedy the degradation.

For more information about this:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Lake Superior's Witch Tree Ontario, Canada

On the east side of Hat Point on the Sibley Peninsula stands a single white cedar called the Witch tree.  It clings to the rocks ten feet above the water.  Its trunk is twisted like a corkscrew and its green scale like leaves are scanty.  It is called by some arbor vitae or the tree of life.  This is the oldest type of tree on the Great Lakes shores.  It may live more than 800 years.  People have wondered how it stays alive since it appears as though there is no soil under it; its roots wrap around rock. 

Both the Cree and the Ojibway indians have used this tree for offerings by placing tobacco around its roots.  They call it a Manitou or spirit tree and tell legends about it.  One legend is of the manitou Nanboujou who wears the cedar tree on his head with the roots bound around his body.

Another legend tell of an evil spirit in the form of a large bird who would plunge from the top of the tree and swamp canoes.

Map of area

Monday, July 5, 2010

Lighthouses of Lake Superior

Lake Superior's rocky shore.  Some of the oldest rocks in the world are found on the shores of Lake Superior. Ships find the lake wild at times and need the help of light houses.  See the link below to Lake Superior lighthouses and their pictures.