Monday, May 23, 2011

Our Unique Great Lakes



On Planet Earth, the Great Lakes are absolutely unique.

The decisions we make in our daily lives,  and the choices we make in who represents us in our government may affect generations to come.  The Great Lakes system is a treasure. Understanding their natural processes and understanding the dynamics of what we do is essential to these life giving waters.
The way to solve pollution  problems is to think globally and to act locally.
Picture yourself as an astronaut looking down from a spacecraft at this beautiful planet, the Earth. From space, it is easy to see that everything is connected to everything else.  The great masses of swirling clouds travel over the continents, drop rain, and sometimes along with the rain, pollutants. The lakes, rivers and seas are interconnected. In order to control global pollution problems they must be controlled at their source.
     In order to act locally, some communities, both adult groups and school age students have adopted a stream.  They have observed the places where pollution might be occurring then they have spoken out against pollution in their communities, city councils or other government agencies.  Local groups of people are in the best position to observe what is happening to their local stream.
Local citizens can help develop cleanup strategies and local pollution prevention programs. The problem is too important to leave to government officials and industries alone.

     Legislation to curb pollution needs to be on a global level as well as on national, state and local levels since everyone is a part of the global whole and flowing air, water and land ecosystems.
The view of planet Earth as seen from a satellite in outer space shows the continents, deep blue oceans and white swirling clouds of vapor. The five Great Lakes show their distinct, interconnected shapes; unique bodies of fresh water.
Of all the planets our satellite cameras and telescopes have probed, only Earth looks inviting or habitable.  A famous photograph taken from the moon shows Earth rising against a barren moonscape where nothing lives.  In the foreground we see jagged rock, but rising in the distance is Earth with its liquid medium: water.  Water and life are inseparable. Where there is life, there is water; where there is water, there is life.
     All nations as well as all living things share the water and air supply that is the planet's life support system; therefore we all share a responsibility for the cleanliness of the air, water, land and its living webs of life. Air and water never stop to show a passport, but circulate freely around the globe.  The great swirling airstreams and water systems we can see from a satellite circulate continually.
If we thought of the Earth as an apple, a layer of life- supporting air, soil and water would only be as thick as the appleĆ¢€™s skin. Life on Earth is only possible as long as our limited life support system works.
     We are all challenged to use our knowledge, creativity and common sense to keep the Great Lakes great. Can you think of ways to think globally and act locally?

Excerpted from my book, The Dynamic Great Lakes

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Grand Haven Pier Water Color

The air is filled with bird song, the waters are alive with fish and the trees are showing their finest leaves.

People are strolling around enjoying May. Kite boards, surf boards, sailboats, fishing boats are enjoying the fine weather.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

When May Flies Emerge

When May flies, or fish flies as some call them, emerge from the water of the Great Lakes, the fishing heats up.  These flies are an important part of the Great Lakes ecosystem.  Read about may flies in my book, The Dynamic Great Lakes, available from bn.com, Amazon.com and many other on line stores.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Mackinac Island and the Great Turtle

Riding a bike or skating around Mackinac Island is a lot of fun. You don't just go there to eat fudge.   On the way you may see wildflowers in bloom, the clear blue green water, and all sorts of birds.  Some of the birds sound like they are in a singing school.  One sings and then another tries the same notes.  Out in the water the diving ducks suddenly disappear and then reappear with fish in their beaks.  Right now the lilacs are in bloom.

Native Americans once used Mackinac Island as an important trading post and had a legend about how the island came to be. The story says the island is a great turtle that got frozen into the ice and is still there.

  Reverand Wm. Ferry, a Presbyterian minister established a mission on the island and a school. Later with indian guides he made a journey around the Great Lakes and the Grand River.  He finally settled in Grand Haven, Michigan and his church is still going strong.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The importance of wetlands and marshes

Wetlands and marshes are vital to the health of rivers and lakes.  They nurture small fish, birds and dragonflies.  Dragonflies feed upon mosquitoes.  Redwing blackbirds balance on cattails and call chirringly.  Eagles and hawks survey from trees and the sky.  Sand hill cranes do their dances then hatch young.  The great blue heron calls from a tree where he has landed. Geese, swans and ducks play in the marsh.   Turtles, snakes, frogs and toads may live partly on land and partly in water.    We hardly know they are there until evening when the toads sing their whirligig songs and the frogs sing their love songs.

Pictured is a swan on her nest hidden among cat tails at Ludington State Park.
Some people may think wetlands are worthless but the plants in them filter pollution and help prevent floods by acting as a sponge.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Partridge in the Wooded Dunes.

video
This partridge would not fly away but kept walking in front of our vehicle.  She must have been protecting her nest.  It's great to see new life around the wooded dunes of the Great Lakes.