The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Monarch butterflies

Monarch butterflies are finally 
having a good year. 
Conditions this spring were favorable as the cloud of monarchs migrated north from their wintering grounds in Mexico into southern U.S. 
The summer was also easy on the butterflies as the next generations migrated into the northern states. Many thousands of them make their way into the Great Lakes basin.
MonarchWatch.org collects data and also sells milkweed plugs so concerned monarch fans can cultivate this important plant on their land.

Milkweed is the ONLY plant that monarchs will lay eggs on. It is the ONLY plant that the caterpillars of the monarchs will eat.

While hiking on Manitoulin Island, I saw the most beautiful milkweed plants: 


The amount of milkweed growing along the migratory path of the monarchs has been declining for years and has caused a huge drop in the number of monarchs.
Learn more HERE.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

What is a "seiche"?

I wrote about the phenomenon of a "seiche" in my first book, 
A 1,000-MILE WALK ON THE BEACH.

Earlier this month, weather conditions were perfect to set up large seiche formation on both Lakes Superior and Michigan.
(For a report on the Lake Superior seiche, go HERE.)

So, what is a "seiche" (pronounced SAY-sh)?
From the NOAA website:

Seiches are typically caused when strong winds and rapid changes in atmospheric pressure push water from one end of a body of water to the other. When the wind stops, the water rebounds to the other side of the enclosed area. The water then continues to oscillate back and forth for hours or even days. 

In 1954, a large seiche formed in Lake Michigan that bounced off the eastern shoreline of SW Michigan, then rebounded back across the lake as a 10-foot wave that swept fishermen off the docks of Chicago. Eight people drown that day.

For more information on this phenomenon and photos, go here.

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.

Lobby

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