The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Efroymson Conservation Center

In September, I did a speaking tour for 
The Nature Conservancy.

One of my presentations was at their headquarters in Indianapolis, the Efroymson Conservation Center.

Exterior of the center

Though I've toured several gold LEED rated buildings, this is the first platinum LEED rated building I've ever come across.


All the brick in this building and much of the wood was reclaimed and reused from the building previously on the site.
Rainwater is captured and used by the green roof or the gardens around the center which are planted with native species. Storm water that falls on the property is also gathered via permeable pavement to be reused on site to water plants or to flush the toilets in the center.

"Green" roof

LiveWall planted with species native to Indiana

 Geothermal heating and cooling and a lighting system that automatically senses when it is needed are also components making this an incredibly GREEN building.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Perimeter Project becomes a book

 Haggerty Museum of Art in Milwaukee originally commissioned photographer
    to create a modern portrait of Lake Michigan.

He decided to drive around the lake, taking portraits of the water and of the people along the shoreline.
What emerged, as Mary Louise Schumacher, art and architecture critic for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says, was a 
"A wonderfully perceptive interrogation of landscape, portraiture, cartography, and place."

Kevin J. Miyazaki at the Perimeter installation at the Haggerty Museum

A wall of human portraits faced a wall of lake portraits 

Celebrating the opening of Perimeter with Miyazaki 

I was honored to be a subject of this project and to attend opening night.

The project has now evolved into a lovely selection of these portraits in book form published by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press.

The book

Many shots of Lake Michigan are included

Amy Lukas and Mary Catterlin -- who traversed the perimeter of the lake in a dugout canoe that they made -- are featured

Kids at Lake Michigan 

Workers on the Mackinac Bridge

Police chief and park ranger

My portrait and quote about Lake Michigan

The vast waters of Lake Michigan

Heartfelt congratulations to Kevin on this lovely book. For more information and to order a signed copy of your own, click HERE.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Sturgeon Release Party

A unique partnership between the DNR, Fish and Wildlife Department, and the Gun Lake Potowatami has led to the rearing and release of 35 sturgeon into the Kalamazoo River. 

The mobile hatchery is parked by the Kalamazoo River. Stefan Tucker (R) worked closely with the fish

I attended the "Release Party" this month at the  New Richmond Bridge County Park  on the Kalamazoo River. It was quite an event with over 300 people in attendance.

4-month old sturgeon

Members of the Gun Lake Potowatami Tribe sang the fish song for the release

Kregg Smith (right, green shirt) from the DNR addresses the crowd

People lined up along the river to watch 

Sturgeon are an ancient fish. Their numbers have been depleted all over the Great Lakes basin. This effort is one of many to help restore the populations of this fish. 

Kregg Smith (left) allows the kids to touch the sturgeon and help release them into the river

 Members of the Gun Lake Tribe released the first few sturgeon into the river, then kids in attendance released the remaining sturgeon. 

A baby soft shell turtle swam by during the release party

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Treasure Island on Lake Mindemoya

While on Manitoulin Island, I kayaked to the largest island in a lake on Manitoulin.

Kayaking to Treasure Island on Lake Mindemoya

Yep. An island on an island.

A perfect day to kayak

Exposed roots from a tree blown down in a storm

Limestone underneath water

Manitoulin Island is the largest island in the Great Lakes basin. It is also the largest island on fresh water in the world. I spent almost two weeks exploring the island and can't wait to share it with you in my upcoming book, 
   A 1000-Mile Great Lakes Island Adventure.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Southbay Gallery & Guesthouse

I love finding unique places to stay on my treks, and Manitoulin Island's 
is one of these gems.

The Guesthouse

Fantastic accommodations

The town of Southbay is where the 
Chi-Cheemaun docks on Manitoulin Island.
[The ferry runs between Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula and Manitoulin Island.]
The gallery across the street from the guest house has many unique Canadian gifts.

Nearby gallery

Interior of the gallery

Monday, September 1, 2014

Increasing amount of Tar Sands oil coming into Great Lakes

I live in Battle Creek, Michigan, just a few miles downstream from the largest (~1 million gallons) tar sands oil disaster ever spilled on American soil.

Enbridge Energy was responsible for this spill in 2011, and they have been cleaning it up for the past four years. They tried to walk away from the job claiming it was complete last year, but the EPA called them back to continue efforts to remove the heavy oil sludge that had settled to the river bottom.

Info about this spill and clean-up here.

Enbridge has just received approval to almost double the amount of tar sands oil flowing through their pipeline that terminates in Superior, Wisconsin, on the shores of Lake Superior.

Info on this approval and how it was obtained is here.

A larger problem with the mining and transport of this oil product -- beyond the fact that is much more difficult and detrimental to our environment to refine than oil from other sources -- is that Canada is allowing the destruction of their boreal forests 
to reach these oil sands.

The boreal forests are one of the largest natural carbon dioxide "sinks" in the world. These temperate forests constantly remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen.

For more info on this, watch this TED Talk here

I fear that we will reach a point where the cascade of environmental destruction will be irreversible. Where the change in our atmosphere will reach a tipping point and all of our efforts to backpedal will be pointless.

This latest move by the State Department to approve this increase in flow of tar sands oil into the Great Lakes is a bad decision even if there is never a spill into the Great Lakes.

If there is a large spill, 
then the decision may well be catastrophic.

It is one thing to clean up a river (it takes years and costs about a billion dollars -- details here), but how would one restore the Great Lakes once a million gallons of tar sands oil -- or more --  corrupts the largest fresh water system in the world?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Misery Bay

I hiked the trails in 
on Manitoulin Island.

This park has some of the best examples of alvar habitat, these large, exposed areas of limestone.

Some still bear the scrape marks from the glaciers.

The horizontal lines are glacial scrapes

This is a rare "puddingstone" among all the limestone

The limestone along the shore has been shaped by Lake Huron

Many fossilized corals are exposed in the limestone

Here's a large chain coral

Limestone flats = Alvar 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Back in the Day: A Manitoulin Island Game

While on Manitoulin Island, I met 
Marion Seabrook. She was born on the island (actually on an island in a lake on Manitoulin Island).

Marion's love of Manitoulin Island runs so deep that she teamed up with a local artist, Richard Edwards, to create a game, 
Back in the Day
based on the island and the rich history there.

Marion Seabrook explains the game to me at her home

Currency of the game, the Canadian "shin plaster" (because soldiers used to put them in their boots to keep the buckle from rubbing on their shins)

The game covers the history of the island in the late 1800s

Historic photos are an integral part of the game

When I got home, I played the game with my son, Lucas, and my nephews, Nathan and Seth.

Lucas locates the historic photo that correlates with the spot he landed on

These guys are serious gamers and they loved Back in the Day! 
 Nathan said, "Great game, and you learn things while you play." 
Lucas said, "This game is really fun."

Nathan (left) reads question to Seth (right)

The game board in play

Currently, the game is only sold on Manitoulin Island. You can find it at Jack's Farm Museum in Mindemoya (where Marion lives) or in Kagawong at Edwards Gallery.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Meldrum Bay Inn & Restaurant

You have to plan to go there...
it's at the far western end of Manitoulin Island.

But Meldrum Bay is worth the planning,
and you must stay at the historic 
Meldrum Bay Inn while you are there.

Built in 1878, the inn looks over the bay

Comfortable rooms...


...and dining room.

 The restaurant at the inn is open for lunch and dinner, so even if you are just in the area for the day, stop in for a fantastic meal.

A breakfast that will keep you fueled until dinner!

Many hummingbirds will visit while you eat on the covered porch.

Shirin is the heart and soul of the Meldrum Inn & Restaurant

The inn is family-owned and run. Shirin is a most gracious hostess. Her husband, Bob, is the chef behind the excellent food. Their daughter, Elena, owns the nearby country store and she also helps in the restaurant in the evenings.

There are hiking trails and the oldest lighthouse on Manitoulin Island nearby (and so much more).
To learn more about the Meldrum Bay Inn & Restaurant, click HERE.

Promotional consideration given.