Saturday, December 20, 2014

my books about the Great Lakes  Click the link to reach my Amazon page with videos, books and information about the Dynamic Great Lakes, The Wilderness Within, Sophia's Lost and Found and Between Sweetwater and Sand.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Waves on Lake Michigan

The waves keep rolling in.  I painted this water color of the beach in Lake Michigan.  Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are very high this year.  Geologically, this is the same lake at the same sea level.  We have had snow and then it melted.  Snow again that melted.  We are waiting to see what the Winter Solstice Dec. 21 brings us.

Surfers are still enjoying these conditions.  Read more about all of these freshwater seas in my book:  The Dynamic Great Lakes available at Barnes & Noble,, Books A Million, The Bookman, Hostetters in Grand Haven and many other fine bookstores.

water color by Barbara Spring

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

White Fish are Running in November

White fish are running in the Great Lakes now.  Fishermen brave the wind, snow, ice and wind after dark on the boardwalk and piers.  They use a lure called the Swedish pimple and some are lucky enough to catch some whitefish.

Read more about the fish, both native, as are the whitefish, and planted as are Pacific salmon, in my book, 

The Dynamic Great Lakes.

The book is widely available at, and in many bookstores.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Remember to feed the birds

Downy woodpecker on cake of suet.  Today a storm blew in.  Birds need seeds and suet to sustain them.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Beware Take Care in November

Take care when walking on the breakwater.  The waves can carry you away if you slip and fall or if a rogue waves washes you in.

Pictured is sun down at the confluence of the Grand River and Lake Michigan one of the wildest of the five Great Lakes.  It is beautiful but it can be treacherous.  

There are many shipwrecks under the five Great Lakes. In November the waves can be very powerful.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Youtube Video showing what lies beneath the Great Lakes

Drain the Great Lakes video  Click the link to see what lies beneath the Great Lakes.  Read about how the Great Lakes were formed in The Dynamic Great Lakes, a critically acclaimed non-fiction book available at, Barnes & Noble and many other bookstores.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Oil Pipeline Under the Straits of Mackinac

Oil Pipeline Danger  Click the link to see a model of how oil could destroy our fresh water under the straits of Mackinac.

The fresh water flowing from Lake Superior, Lake Michigan toward Lake Huron is beautiful and people enjoy visiting Mackinac Island where no cars are allowed.See the model of how an oil pipeline break could contaminate these waters.  It's a very old oil pipeline.

Pictured is Mackinac Bridge that spans the straits.  It connects the upper and lower Peninsulas of Michigan.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Great Lakes Pirate: Dan Seavey

Roaring Dan Seavey – The most notorious Great Lakes pirate may be none other than Roaring Dan Seavey, who started as a regular sailor in the U.S. Navy. After leaving the military he found himself a poor man with only his ship, Wanderer, to his name and took up a life of plundering.
Seavey was a thief who had eyes for large shipments of venison and alcohol, to then later sell at a higher price. Anyone who tried to stop him faced the cannon he held on board. Seavey’s most famous escapade was his takeover of a schooner docked named the Nellie Johnson. The clever seaman invited the Johnson’s crew to drink with him, staying mostly sober himself. He then threw the drunken sailors off their ship and sailed it to Chicago, where he sold the Nellie Johnson’s cargo.
Seavey retired sometime in the late 1920s, and settled in the town of Peshtigo, Wisconsin. He died in a Peshtigo nursing home on 14 February 1949 at the age of 84.

Click the link for more: Great Lakes Pirates
Want to know more about these Michigan marauders? Strap on your peg leg and set sail towards one of these maritime attractions to get your fill of pirate personas!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Microbeads Upset Ecology of Great Lakes

Click on the link above for an important story about tiny bits of plastic entering the ecosystems of the five Great Lakes and their connecting waters.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

A Walk on the Grand Haven Pier

The pier is at the confluence of the Grand River and Lake Michigan.  We saw fishermen, joggers and strollers.  The fishing was not too good that day.

Read more about the Great Lakes in The Dynamic Great Lakes.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Insects Emerge Around the Great Lakes

I had fun painting these creatures found near the Great Lakes.  The roses are blooming and the torrents of rain should help things grow.

 Luna moth...a night flyer.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Protest Poem about Palisades Nuclear Power Plant

Barbara Spring Reads from The Wilderness Within

Click the youtube link above to hear a protest poem about Palisades Nuclear Power plant on Lake Michigan.

This book is available from Barnes & Noble, in Kindle and paparback and many other bookstores.

Monday, June 2, 2014

King or Chinook salmon

King or Chinook salmon.  The fishing has started on Lake Michigan.  Pictured is Norm Spring with his catch of the day.

Read more about Pacific salmon planted in the Great Lakes in my book, The Dynamic Great Lakes. Available at, Barnes & Noble and many other bookstores.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Kite Festival on Lake Michigan.

Microbeads in Great Lakes Get Into Food Chains

The Great Lakes are 20% of the fresh surface water on this planet and offer lots of sports.  But there is danger lurking below their waters in the form of tiny plastic beads.  Click the link for more info.

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Dynamic Great Lakes non fiction book and photos

The Dynamic Great Lakes  click the link

A book to throw in your travel bag if you are fishing, diving, swimming, boating or sailing on any of the five Great Lakes: Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario as well as Lake St. Clair and all of the connecting waters.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Great Lakes Water Diversions


The waters of the Great Lakes are, for the most part, a nonrenewable resource. They are composed of numerous aquifers (groundwater) that have filled with water over the centuries, waters that flow in the tributaries of the Great Lakes, and waters that fill the lakes themselves. Although the total volume in the lakes is vast, on average less than 1 percent of the waters of the Great Lakes is renewed annually by precipitation, surface water runoff, and inflow from groundwater sources. 

A diversion is any transfer of water across watershed boundaries through a man-made pipeline or canal. Diversions may transfer water in or out of the Great Lakes basin, or between the watersheds of different lakes or rivers within the basin. While the impacts of existing diversions on lake levels are minor, they alter the natural flow of the Great Lakes and water returned from diversions may be of a different quality than when it was withdrawn. 

The Dynamic Great Lakes  click the link for more information about interconnected Great Lakes system.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Michigan Environmental Hall of Fame April 10, 2014 Event

Norm Spring will be inducted into the Michigan Environmental Hall of Fame on April 10, 2014, 7 p.m. at the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Norm was active in preserving the environment before the first Earth day. An outdoorsman, he saw damages done to the air, streams, lakes and land.  He worked through the democratic processes to make good changes.  In Grand Haven Michigan he went to every city council meeting for three years to ban the spraying of DDT in the city and finally won that battle.  Then with others he formed the Michigan Pesticides Council and the ban went statewide, and then nationwide. Now we have seen the return of the American bald eagle to the shores of the Great Lakes.  An enviromental victory for all living things.  

Norm spearheaded and won many other environmental victories to better the environment for all.

Others who will be inducted into the Michigan Environmental Hall of Fame are Don Inman, Joan Wolfe and Dave Dempsey.

Below see others who are now in the Michigan Environmental Hall of Fame:

Fred Wilder, a Muskegon native. Wilder has been active in conservation since he was in high school in the 1940s. He has long volunteered with Sportsman for Youth, the Muskegon Conservation Club, of which he’s a past president, and the Muskegon Environmental Research & Education Society. In 2011, the Michigan United Conservation Clubs gave Wilder their Past Presidents’ Award for conservation.
Former Gov. William Milliken. The organization is honoring Milliken, Michigan’s Republican governor from 1969 to 1983, for his role in enacting many of the state’s environmental protection laws.
Howard Tanner, director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources from 1975 to 1983. Tanner also was director of natural resources for Michigan State University and helped launch the planting of salmon in Lake Michigan, establishing the state’s salmon fishery.

Today, bald eagles are seen around the Great Lakes more and more often, but in 1978, these magnificent birds were threatened.
Threatened with extinction. Their eggs never hatched since pesticides that lingered in the environment long after they were sprayed to kill insects magnified in Great Lakes food pyramids. The eagle is at the peak of the food pyramid and its favorite food is fish.
This makes the eagle an environmental indicator; a measuring stick of how well the whole ecosystem is faring. Where the ecosystem is healthy, eagles can live and raise their young.
Since DDT was banned in 1972, the nesting eagle population has increased.

Excerpted from The Dynamic Great Lakes by Barbara Spring.  

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Video Downy Woodpecker near Lake Michigan

This winter is tough on everything including the birds.  We help the birds by hanging suet cakes and sunflower seeds.

I took this video of a hungry downy woodpecker through my window.  This will keep it going for a while.  Tufted titmouse, slate colored juncos, cardinals, and many other birds come to our feeders.  We are happy to serve them.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Video Lake Erie

Lake Erie  click here for the video

Our shallowest and most populated of the five Great Lakes.  Here is a short video showing Lake Erie and its problems.

Read more in The Dynamic Great Lakes  
The Dynamic Great Lakes is available at, Barnes & Noble, Books a Million and many other bookstores.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Video of Lake Superior Ice Caves

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Nice video but due to a change in wind and weather, it is not safe to go on the ice 2/22/2014

Monday, February 17, 2014

Isle Royale Wolves

The wolves of Isle Royale have been studied for years.  Click the link above to read about how ice could affect the wolf pack.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Grand Haven Pier in Winter

The snow is pretty but driving is getting more and more difficult. This must be a record year for snow and cold here on Lake Michigan.
Many people have gotten into trouble when walking on the pier.  The lake changes constantly and what might look like solid ice is not. Wind and changes in water currents cause the ice to be unstable.  This is the place where the Grand River flows into Lake Michigan.  Not safe to walk here.  Dogs do not understand ice and should not be allowed to run free in this area.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Ice Builds on the Great Lakes

While ice builds on the Great Lakes, the wooded dunes in West Michigan are blanketed with snow. The birds work to find food and have been coming to bird feeders and suet cakes. We have seen woodpeckers, cardinals making splashes of red against the white snow. Chickadees and nuthatches along with many other birds enjoy the handouts and we are happy to see them in our yard. Out on Lake Michigan's ice packs we have been seeing the American bald eagles. These birds will have their high flying courtships in February. Right now they are looking for any fish that may have washed up. Read about the return of the eagles, an environmental victory in my book, The Dynamic Great Lakes available where fine books are sold such as, Barnes & Noble etc. Also available for the Kindle reader.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

This happened a few years ago in Mexico. This cold blast in Michigan has me longing for warmer climates. El Nino Blue Marlin From the window of our plane we saw the Baja Peninsula rising from the sea below us like a a writhing red dragon with the Pacific on one side and the Sea of Cortez on the other. Only the hardy survive in the Baja's harsh beauty : sharp spined cactus, armadillos wearing suits of armor, swift roadrunners. Life on this rugged peninsula brings one close to the struggle for survival: armor, weapons, cunning, speed. It is likewise in the seas offshore Baja. Few people find it an inviting place except for the hardy fishermen for the waters offshore Baja teem with sea life of various kinds. Donning a mask and flippers, I entered its clear water and found a small fish resembling a dead leaf, a skittish school of large fish that streaked away before Icould get a good look, and strange puffer fish covered with spines like the cactus in the surrounding mountains. El nino, a change in ocean currents had brought a surge of warm water to the Pacific coast of Mexico and to the Seaof Cortez. The warm water had turned the fishing upside down. El nino means the child and is associated with Christmas time since it occurs around December and brings gifts from the sea in the form of tropical species. Perhaps the captain of the fishing boat we chartered was born during an El Nino for like the child, his name was Jesus. Jesus Ariza. Due to El nino, the unexpected was about to leap up everywhere. Away from the shallows where I snorkeled, the water drops off rapidly in the Sea of Cortez and has a hard black and white glitter like a chipped obsidian spear point due to its great depth. I sat on the upper deck and chatted with the captain while gazing at a panoramic view offshore of Beuna Vista. As the mountainous shore receded I imagined fish below us like armored, colorful warriors equipped for battle with lances, spears, sharp fins and teeth--ready for fight or flight. In their submarine world, great billed and sharp finned fish were cruising the dark waters: sailfish, marlin, dorado, tuna in all their shining splendor. Trailing from the deck below were three fishing lines rigged with artificial squid, red, green and black. It wasn't long before we saw tuna leaping and Jesus circled around while our deck hand Luis threw out a bait fish to tempt them. We were rewarded by a tug on the line and our fishing companion Ben pulled in a yellow tuna with its vivid blue and yellow racing stripes and bright yellow sawtooth fins protecting the underbelly. The others in our party, Norm, Charlie, and Jean took turns pulling in fish and by ll:30, we had boated three yellow tuna, and one striped marlin with the help of Luis, always quick to dash down the ladder and cast out a bait or gaff a fish. Luis moved like quicksilver as he expertly rigged lines and tossed them out nonchanlantly. During a lull, the boat rocked gently as Jesus spoke Spanish to another boat captain on the marine radio. His alert eyes scanned the water for leaping tuna or marlin. He had grown up on this sparsely populated coast and knew the sea and its inhabitants intimately. His steel grey hair curled around his weathered face. Jesus put the radio receiver down and chatted with me companionably about his fishing career on the Baja while we waited for another strike. "I started fishing commercially for shark with my father at age eleven. At fifteen, I started working on a sportsfishing boat and have done this for the past 30 years. I had no chance to go to school," he said. "Do you like your job?" I asked. "Si" he answered. "I know a lot of people who would like to trade jobs with you," I said scanning the water for leaping tuna, the telltale scythe like fin of marlin, or perchance, a whale. "There's a sea lion," Jesus noted. Rocking gently in the sea with its flippers pointing toward the sun as if receiving a boon, the sea lion basked, oblivious us,perfectly at home in the Sea of Cortez named after the armored conquistodor who discovered it, then ravaged much of Mexico. Above us black frigate birds gliding on the wind searched the water for small fish below them, or other sea birds they could steal fish from. Frigate birds are the pirates of the air. Thinking this would be a good time to eat lunch, I pulled out a chicken stuffed tortilla. "Pass me some of that hot sauce," I asked. Norm handed it up from below. Norm and I had never fished for marlin before. We had fished the Great Lakes fresh water for coho, chinook, and pink salmon as well as lake trout, steelhead and football sized brown trout. A marlin had just been a dream until our friend Charlie introduced us to his favorite place on the Baja, Spa Beuna Vista, and his favorite captain. It was easy to see why Jesus was much sought after. He was unfailingly considerate and usually found fish. The results today were in the fish box. For some weeks before we arrived el nino had been blowing. This was fortunate for us we were told, since el nino blows across the Baja every three or four years and is likely to bring good deep sea fishing. The day, February 26, was sunny with a breeze blowing, not too rough, not too calm, a perfect day for fishing. The previous days had been too windy for comfort causing the boat to pitch drunkenly. Even so we had caught three yellow fin tuna and had seen ten marlin near the surface. This day was perfect. I was happy to be on board. At high noon suddenly, out of the black and white sea, a magnificent fish struck--Norm grabbed the rod from its holder cranking the reel. He knew the fish was hooked well on the artificial lure. Within seconds it stripped off hundreds of feet of line, rocketing out of the sea, and splashing down again and again. I caught my breath at the sight of the fish leaping so far ahead of the boat. Could this really be the same fish on the line? It was too far away from the boat. It didn't behave like the other marlin. Even from a distance I could see its lance like snout, its large dark eyes its scimitar shaped tail and its flying grace as it arced back into the water. I could see that Jesus was excited. "It's a blue marlin," he shouted turning the wheel of the boat. "We are lucky today," he said. "It is early in the season for a blue marlin." Luis reeled in the other lines to keep them clear of the great fish on the other end of Norm's line. Norm played the fish in a welter of waves amid our cheers and whoops. The marlin sounded tugging the 80 pound test line, down, down, down. Again the great blue broke water as Norm played it. It ran with the line and he played it, letting it take its time, reeling, playing it out. At last he reeled it in close to the boat and we caught sight of the marlin's luminous markings, periwinkle blue shading to violet fins appeared above the water, and Luis gaffed the fish grabbing it by its lance like bill. He lashed it securely to the stern of the boat with a rope. Blue marlin are so highly prized for their white flesh that a fish like this was a bonanza for our captain; it would feed a lot of people in a country that is none to prosperous. If this were not so, we would have released the fish. On our way again, Charlie said he'd like to catch a dorado so we begin trolling again. Jesus observed seven marlin fins nearby. The fish were basking, enjoying a fine day. Luis threw out a bait fish to interest them and one of them hit his line, but the reel fouled. We tried again. All about us we saw marlins leaping, tuna leaping. At his vantage point on the upper deck Jesus could see 360 degrees and never missed any movement on the water. "Why do fish leap?" I asked. "Because they are happy," Jesus replies. It seemed to be true. Another marlin struck and this time Ben grabbed the rod. After another leaping, heart-catching battle, he landed a striped marlin, then released it back into the sea. "I want to see a whale," I say to Jesus. At this time of year and through the month of March, humpback whales breed in the warm waters off the Baja peninsula. The words were barely out of my mouth when the leviathon materialized, leaped high in the air right directly in front of the boat. I let out a cheer that brought the rest of the crew topside. The whale leaped again and sounded leaving a dark blue hole in the black waters. Awesome. "Where did he go?" We all peered in every direction. Then we saw him spout and the great back curved gracefully beneath the water, its rakish tail, grey on top and white underneath, disappeared as I wondered if the whale was as interested in us as we were in him. He seemed in no hurry to leave, but after he did, we decided to call it a day. Back on shore, the crew hoisted the blue marlin onto a scale and it weighed in at 356 pounds. The striped marlin weighed l65 pounds and the three yellow tuna about 60 pounds a piece. That evening the dining room at the resort Spa Beuna Vista served us a delicacy, suchi, thin slices of red raw tuna dipped in soy sauce, and the piece de resistance, the fine white meat of the blue marlin a dinner fit for the most finicky gourmet. El nino gifted us with a tremendous boon from the sea.