News and Events

Annual NEMIGLSI Networking Meeting

Event Date: 2/16/2017

Place-Based Stewardship Education meets Environmental-STEM Opportunity

Date: Thursday, February 16, 2017
Time:  9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Lunch Provided)
Location: Alpena, MI – hosted at the Alpena Aplex (Alpena Events Complex, 701 Woodward Avenue, Alpena, MI  49707), in the Huron Conference Room. Our network is growing, and the Aplex will offer us the additional space we desire for more face-to-face networking!

Program Expectations/Objectives: 

  • Learn about the Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative Regional Network (NEMIGLSI) through educational updates, information and resources in support of your stewardship education efforts
  • Gain place-based stewardship education insights and ideas from a panel of education and community partners
  • Network, share, and trade lessons learned with participating NE MIGLSI partners – a chance to connect with educators and community partners from around our region
  • Share new resources developed across our statewide GLSI network supporting place-based stewardship education practices; and launch of a new environmental-STEM challenge grant celebrating our network’s recent UL Innovative Education Award from the North American Assoc. for Environmental Education.
  • Contribute in planning the future direction for our regional NEMIGLSI network – your opportunity to provide input and guidance about how the GLSI can better support place-based stewardship education inquiries in northeast Michigan!

Registration Information:

Please share with those who may want to participate and benefit from the day, and we hope you will plan to join yourself!

  • CLICK HERE to register online at the NEMIGLSI website ( – registration under “Professional Development” tab). Please register no later than Friday, February 10th.
  • No cost to participate and lunch is provided. We only request you please pre-register, as this helps us plan for meals and educational materials provided.
  • School participation stipends. Participating schools will be reimbursed ($100 stipend for each educator participating) to help cover substitute teacher costs.

Questions or need additional information? Contact Meaghan Gass ( or Brandon Schroeder (schroe45@msu.edu989-354-9885).

In great tradition, we anticipate a wonderful day of networking and sharing information, resources, and new ideas among schools, educators and community partners engaged in youth development and environmental stewardship across northeast Michigan.

Request for Pre-proposals

Event Date: 3/3/2017


Michigan Sea Grant is soliciting proposals for innovative research projects and graduate fellowships for the 2018-2020 funding period. Michigan Sea Grant sends out RFPs for research projects every two years. Michigan Sea Grant will support three types of research this funding cycle:

  • Integrated Assessment – Research that uses Integrated Assessment methods to address important social and ecological issues affecting the Great Lakes, up to $75,000 per year for two years.
  • Core Research – Basic core research on issues currently affecting the Great Lakes ecosystem, up to $100,000 per year for two years.
  • Graduate Student Research Fellowships – Graduate student (M.S. or Ph.D.) research fellowships for one or two years, up to $50,000 total per fellowship.

Funding for Integrated Assessment and Core Research will support two-year projects that begin February 1, 2018, and end by January 31, 2020. Fellowships may begin in 2018 (one or two year period) or 2019 (one year period).

Qualified researchers at accredited Michigan universities are eligible to be Principal Investigators on MISG-funded projects. Graduate fellowships will support a graduate student enrolled at an accredited Michigan university with support of a faculty member from that institution.

All proposals require a 50 percent non-federal match (one non-federal dollar for every two federal dollars requested). Funding is contingent upon NOAA approval and congressional appropriation of funds.

The deadline for Integrated Assessment and Core Research pre-proposals is 5 p.m. March 3, 2017 (EST).

Graduate Student Research Fellowship proposals are due by 5 p.m. on May 26, 2017. Funding decisions will be announced early September 2017.

For details on these opportunities, see:

Great Lakes Fisheries Educational Session

Event Date: 1/28/2017

A Great Lakes Fisheries Educational Session will be held during the Michigan Fish Producers Association Annual Conference on Saturday January 28, 2017, at the Park Place Hotel in Traverse City, Michigan.

The Great Lakes Fisheries Session will run from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. There is no registration fee for this event. Topics will range from lake levels to cisco restoration, local seafood suppliers, cormorant management, and more. See the agenda for full details.

If you’re interested in attending or have questions, get in touch with Michigan Sea Grant Extension educator Ron Kinnunen at (906) 226-3687 or

Great Lakes Day

Event Date: 3/7/2017

March 7, 2017

9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center auditorium, East Lansing, MI

On March 7, this year’s Great Lakes conference, held at Michigan State University during Agriculture and Natural Resources Week, will focus on the theme “The Great Lakes: Moving Michigan Forward.”

Keynote addresses will be given by Dr. Joan Rose, recipient of the 2016 Stockholm Water Prize, speaking on global public health issues, and Jon Allen, director of the Office of the Great Lakes, presenting the next steps in Michigan’s Water Strategy.

Other speakers will focus on issues relating to green infrastructure, agriculture, rip currents, the use of drones, acoustic telemetry and “Dark Skies.”

To register on the web or to find updates to the agenda, visit

To register by phone, call (517) 353-3742.

Michigan Science Teachers Association conference

Event Date: 3/24/2017
End Date: 3/25/2017


The Michigan Science Teachers Association is holding its 64th conference

Event date: March 24-25, pre-conference sessions March 23

Michigan Science Teachers Association mission is to stimulate, support, and provide leadership for the improvement of science education throughout Michigan. The MSTA will hold its annual conference with the theme “Putting Legs on the New Science Standards.” The conference will be held at the Suburban Collection Showplace, 46100 Grand River Ave., Novi, MI 483745. Pre-conference sessions will be held on March 23.

Online registration ends March 24, early-bird registration until March 7. Conference fees range from $25 to $160.

IAGLR Abstracts Submission Deadline

Event Date: 1/13/2017

IAGLR logo

We invite you to participate in the 60th Annual Conference on Great Lakes Research, to be held May 15-19, 2017, at Cobo Center in Detroit, Mich. Seventy sessions have been proposed to complement the theme From Cities to Farms: Shaping Great Lakes Ecosystems. We welcome abstract submissions for both oral and poster presentations.

All abstracts must be submitted online by January 13, 2017. The deadline will not be extended.

For more information and to find the submission form, visit:

Fellowship Application Deadlines

Event Date: 2/10/2017
End Date: 2/27/2017

Applications will close soon for several graduate fellowships with Michigan Sea Grant or a partner organization. See the individual fellowship webpages for more details!

NOAA Marine Debris Calendar celebrates student voices, student art

Alpena students bring a Great Lakes perspective to the global marine debris issue.

Malley M., an eighth-grade student at All Saints Catholic School in Alpena, Mich., displays her winning artwork. Malley's illustration is the November calendar page in the NOAA Marine Debris Calendar. Courtesy photo

Malley M., an eighth-grade student at All Saints Catholic School in Alpena, Mich., displays her winning artwork. Malley’s illustration is the November calendar page in the NOAA Marine Debris Calendar. Courtesy photo

A new year is just around the corner – and it’s also an opportunity to celebrate a local youth leader who is featured in the national 2017 NOAA Marine Debris Calendar. This year’s calendar showcases the artwork of Malley M., a 2015-16 eighth-grade student at All Saints Catholic School in Alpena, Mich. Connected to that classroom’s efforts to raise awareness about plastic pollution in the Great Lakes, Malley’s art was chosen as one of twelve young artists contributing to the annual calendar. She not only created an imaginative, eye-catching piece of art for this competition, but she also applied her school skills in addressing this marine debris issue locally.

In her achievement, she represents her broader team of classmates, educators, school, and community. Her teacher, Alecia Deitz, engages students – through their learning – in environmental stewardship projects aimed at enhancing their local community. Supported by the Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (NEMIGLSI) network, the All Saints School educator team explores local issues and community needs through a place-based stewardship education (PBSE) (PDF) instructional process. Through this network, educators and students first investigated the issue of marine debris and plastic pollution in the Great Lakes – an issue commonly connected with our world’s ocean but sometimes forgotten about here locally in our Great Lakes.

Through the NEMIGLSI network, students connected with the  Alliance for the Great Lakes, NOAA Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Michigan Sea Grant, Michigan State University Extension and Huron Pines AmeriCorps who support their efforts to raise awareness toward marine debris and plastic pollution. Place-based stewardship education is more than an art or science project – rather it reflects hands-on, student-engaged, and interdisciplinary learning experiences for students, educators, and their community. Malley’s artwork reflects an educational aspect of their project, and other All Saints student leaders across multiple grades also investigated this issue locally.

During the 2015-16 school year, students launched a marine debris and consumption investigation by watching Bag It: Is your life too plastic?  Next seventh- and eight-graders completed cafeteria audits for single-use versus reusable plastics, and applying math, they calculated over 1,500 single-use items in their cafeteria. After collecting data, they hosted a schoolwide assembly, where they highlighted the impact of the marine debris on the environment and shared the collected weekly tally for single-use plastics. They challenged their school and classmates to reduce single-use plastics and offered alternatives like skipping straws or using reusable containers in trade for plastic sandwich bags. The following week, they tracked single-use plastics in their cafeteria again, and found a decrease to less than 900 single-use items!  Cafeteria staff contributed also by switching from disposable to reusable silverware.

Expanding their work into the community, students presented their research during the Thunder Bay International Film Festival, setting up an educational table and presented as part of a plastic outreach panel of partners, students, and educators on the issue of marine debris. Through this opportunity, students shared with their community what they have learned about the environmental impacts of marine debris and how citizens can take steps to reduce single use plastics in their lives.

That spring, students then partnered in the NOAA Students for Zero Waste Week. Prior to their weeklong effort, seventh- and eighth-graders hosted another schoolwide presentation to remind students why it is import to reduce waste and energy use. Following the presentation, K-12 students completed litter cleanups on schoolgrounds and made art from trash among other activities. The weeklong efforts culminated with a student-planned Friday Earth Day Celebration complete with a ‘Trashion’ show and lots of hands-on activities related to marine debris and ways to reuse trash. This fun event offered a forum for trading educational and inspiring information and ideas on how to connect learning toward environmental stewardship and betterment of their community.

close up of drawing of marine debris art

During their Zero Waste Week, All Saints seventh- and eighth-graders led the Northeast Michigan Earth Day Bag Project effort at their school with fourth-graders. After showing short videos to highlight how marine debris impacts our ocean they discussed the issue locally with students. In April, students across northeast Michigan collaborate with different schools, community partners, and area grocery stores to raise awareness about the importance of reducing plastic use and reusing items (such as cloth bags) through student-decorated paper grocery bags. The end-product is student decorated bags to raise awareness in area grocery stores on Earth Day, but it also serves as a tool to integrate science, art, and English language arts in one effort.

During the current school year, sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders and lead teacher, Alecia Deitz, continue to explore the marine debris issue locally as a tool for classroom learning. They made ornaments out of trash collected by area students during Alliance for the Great Lakes Adopt-a-Beach in Alpena; and the students’ work is currently on display this holiday season at the Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan highlighting the effects of plastic pollution on our environment and Great Lakes.

Through place-based stewardship education efforts, these students apply their learning to better protect our Great Lakes by raising awareness about the issue of marine debris while shifting culture in their school and community toward reducing plastic waste.

Winter fishing in Michigan on ice-free waters worth the effort

Here are some tips to help anglers get ready to hit the water.

The weather outside may be frightful but fishing can still be delightful with preparation and planning. Here in southeast Michigan there aren’t many people fishing along the shorelines but several boat launches are still quite active, including Alter Road in Detroit, Wyandotte, Lake Erie Metropark, Sterling State Park and Bolles Harbor. Some of these Michigan anglers also will venture into Canadian and Ohio waters.

Things to consider for winter fishing:

  • What are people fishing for? Here in the Detroit River and western Lake Erie, many anglers are targeting yellow perch and walleye this time of year.
  • Pre-trip planning: Check the wind and water temp before venturing out. Anglers I know use Windfinder for wind speed and direction, and NOAA’s for wind speed and direction as well as several other weather elements such as surface temp and precipitation potential.
  • Network: Connect with other winter anglers to find out where they are having success. You also can find info in the Detroit River/Lake Erie section of the Michigan Sportsman website, western basin section on the Ohio Sportsman website, Downriver Walleye Federation Facebook page, etc.
  • Let someone know before you go: The U.S. Coast Guard and other boating experts recommend filing a float plan before you launch your boat. Float plans need not be complicated, at a minimum you need to tell a reliable person who is staying onshore where you are going, who you are going with and when you plan to be back. A more detailed float plan template is available from the Coast Guard.
  • Know your limits: Regulations for the number of lines allowed in the water, bag limits and fishing licenses can be different from Michigan to Ohio or Canada. Be sure to obtain the proper license(s) and know these regulations before heading out to fish.
Michigan Ontario, Canada Ohio
Detroit River 5 walleye (15+ inches)

50 yellow perch (no size limit)

2 jigging rods

6 walleye (no size limit)

50 yellow perch (no size limit)

1 jigging rod

Lake Erie 6 walleye (15+ inches)

50 yellow perch (no size limit)

3 trolling rods

6 walleye (no size limit)

50 yellow perch (no size limit)

2 trolling rods

6 walleye (15+ inches)

30 yellow perch (no size limit)

2 trolling rods

License Info
(outdoor card also required)


  • On a good day, anglers can bring in their bag limit in just a couple of hours. On a bad day, well that’s why they call it fishing, not catching.
    Dress properly:
    Layer up, invest in warm weather gear and don’t forget boots, gloves, hats and even hand warmers.
  • Specialized equipment: While most anglers use the same rods, reels, nets, and other equipment, they will also add glow sticks to the mix because the sun goes down early this time of year. Many anglers use more crank baits in the winter months as opposed to crawler harnesses and live bait that are used in the warmer months.

Sea Grant 50th Anniversary: Celebrating the work of our Extension educators

Always look for balanced, evidence-based information when tackling an issue that’s important to you, new Extension educator Elliot Nelson advises.

Elliot Nelson joined Michigan Sea Grant in May 2016 and is seen here officially opening his office in Sault Ste. Marie. Photo: Michigan Sea Grant

Elliot Nelson joined Michigan Sea Grant in May 2016 and is seen here officially opening his office in Sault Ste. Marie. Photo: Michigan Sea Grant

In 2016, the National Sea Grant College Program celebrates 50 years of putting science to work for America’s coastal communities.

Sea Grant is a federal-state partnership that turns research into action by supporting science-based, environmentally sustainable practices that ensure coastal communities remain engines of economic growth in a rapidly changing world. There are 33 programs across the country working to help build and grow innovative businesses along America’s oceans and Great Lakes, protect against environmental destruction and natural disasters, and train the next generation of leaders.

Established in 1969, Michigan Sea Grant, is a collaboration between Michigan State University and the University of Michigan. We offer research, education and community outreach on topics such as aquatic invasive species, coastal development, commercial and sports fishing, and environmental stewardship for youth.

Our Michigan State University Extension educators live and work in coastal communities around Michigan. We celebrate their hard work and take this opportunity to introduce each of them during this anniversary year.

Elliot Nelson is located in Sault Saint Marie and serves six counties in the Eastern Upper Peninsula. He joined the Michigan Sea Grant Extension team as an educator in May 2016.

hessel_072916_0248Elliot grew up in the Upper Peninsula, but spent the last 11 years in southern Michigan before returning to the UP as an Extension educator. He received his undergraduate degree from Michigan State University in biology and worked as a high school science teacher in Grand Rapids for a number of years. More recently Elliot worked as an environmental educator, watershed manager and promoter of Michigan’s birding trails. He recently received his master’s degree from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and the Environment in Conservation Ecology and Communications.

In his free time Elliot is a bit obsessed with bird watching and frequently travels around the state to view rare birds. He also loves kayaking, gardening and basically any activity that’s an excuse to get outside.

What made you decide to be an Extension educator?

Starting back in undergrad, I noticed that there often was a disconnect between academic research and application of research in the real world. When I recently returned to school to obtain a master’s degree I made it a point to seek out opportunities to participate in that space between research and application. When I learned that Sea Grant had an opening, and what Sea Grant is all about, I began to become very excited. Here is an organization that is really making a positive impact on coastal communities and ecosystems around the state, and they’re doing it by applying high quality data and research. I decided this is really where I want to work.

How has Michigan Sea Grant made a difference in the aquaculture industry?

Aquaculture, or the breeding, rearing and harvesting of aquatic animals or plants, is the fastest growing sector of the seafood industry. While the private industry in Michigan is relatively small, there is huge potential for growth. In addition, there are large numbers of publicly owned hatcheries that practice aquaculture to raise fish for release into the wild to support Michigan’s recreational fishery. Michigan Sea Grant has supported aquaculture in the past through Extension educator Ron Kinnunen’s work and the Seafood HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) training courses he teaches. These courses assist seafood processors with practicing safe handling to prevent disease transmission. In addition, another HACCP course helps aquaculture facilities create a plan to prevent the spread of invasive species. Currently Michigan Sea Grant is working to create an Aquaculture Technician Certification program in collaboration with a number of community colleges and four-year institutions. Helping train a knowledgeable workforce is one of the keys to growing a sustainable and low impact industry within the state.

What challenges does your area of the state face as you look to the future?

The Eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan is a beautiful location with a vibrant natural and cultural history. However, during the recession of the 2000s, the area saw a noted loss in jobs and a decline in population. In particular demographics shifted as young people left the area and the remaining individuals aged. One of the greatest challenges in this region of the state will be developing economic opportunities and diversifying local economies to adapt to a changing world. In the same vein, retaining and attracting a younger population and entrepreneurs of all ages will be critical to promoting a diversified and vibrant economy in the area.

How will you and Michigan Sea Grant help?

Michigan Sea Grant works in a variety of areas that can help both develop a sense of place and promote diverse economies. My work in particular with the aquaculture industry could help bring sustainable jobs to the area. I am also working with birding trails in the area to help grow a more diverse ecotourism industry. The natural features in this region are mostly pristine and unparalleled in their beauty. By protecting these resources, we can retain their aesthetic value and benefit from a robust tourist economy. In addition, I am working with a variety of local partners from Lake Superior State University to the Soo Watershed Partnership on helping make EUP waterfront towns desirable places to live. Improving watershed quality and promoting access to waterfronts can help improve a sense of place and desirability of an area and help attract a vibrant workforce while at the same time improving quality of life.

Do you have any advice for students who might want to pursue a career with an environmental focus?

Get out there and start doing things! The best way to discover if an environmentally focused career is good for you is by volunteering and/or working for groups that are working in the areas you are interested in. Try working with a variety of different types of employers such as nonprofits, state or federal governments, or private companies to get a sense of which working environment is best for you.

If you could get people to follow just one piece of conservation advice what would it be?

Always look for balanced, evidence-based information when tackling an issue that’s important to you. Do the research to know exactly what the issue is and how you can best solve it, then get to work!