News and Events

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

Brandon Schroeder is passionate about place-based education.

Our MSU 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.

Brandon Schroeder, located in Alpena, serves five coastal Lake Huron counties in northeast Michigan and has been an extension educator for more than 10 years. Brandon’s background is in fisheries management and aquatic education programming, with both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees through the Michigan State University Department of Fisheries and Wildlife.  Before joining the Michigan Sea Grant team in 2004, he served as a fisheries resource and policy specialist with Michigan United Conservation Clubs.

Brandon’s current Sea Grant Extension efforts involve fisheries science, sustainable coastal tourism development, Lake Huron biodiversity conservation, and promoting Great Lakes literacy and education opportunities. He serves on the national Sea Grant Education Network’s executive committee, and as member of the regional Sea Grant Center for Great Lakes Literacy team. He provides leadership for the statewide 4-H Great Lakes and Natural Resources Camp, a teen science and leadership camp in Michigan, and locally for a regional place-based stewardship education network, the Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative.

What made you decide to be an extension educator?

Growing up near Lake Huron I developed a passion for Michigan’s amazing water resources while fishing, swimming, scuba diving, taking on aquatic studies at school, and generally exploring my local Great Lakes coastline, streams, and farm pond. In contrast, several amazing teachers during my high school experience inspired me toward a career in education. Why choose between two exciting careers? A mentor and advisor, Dr. Shari Dann at Michigan State University, helped me to realize an opportunity to cross-connect Great Lakes and natural resource sciences with education and outreach through careers like Extension. I quickly discovered an amazing career path connecting science with people through education, including fisheries policy with MUCC, natural resources education through 4-H, Project F.I.S.H. and Michigan Alliance for Environmental and Outdoor Education, and eventually a rewarding career with Michigan Sea Grant and Michigan State University Extension.

How has Michigan Sea Grant made a difference in the Northeast Michigan?

Northeast Michigan is rich in Great Lakes natural resources and in my Sea Grant Extension role it has been extremely exciting to work in partnership with communities to think about how science can help us sustainably benefit from our coastal resources.

In our Extension role, and as part of the community, I believe we are uniquely positioned on the frontline of emerging issues that are most relevant and pressing for our communities. For example, the Lake Huron fishery has witnessed dramatic ecological changes resulting from invasive species introductions. Many communities and businesses – from charter fishing to bait shops – were negatively impacted when important salmon fisheries collapsed as a result of these ecological changes. Michigan Sea Grant was able to help connect scientists and management agencies with anglers and coastal communities to help understand and respond to these ecosystem changes.

More broadly than fishing alone, coastal tourism is extremely important to the economy in northeast Michigan, and several years back, we invested in a regional coastal tourism research and planning project, the Northeast Michigan Integrated Assessment. It is been great to work with agencies, such as the NOAA Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and state Department of Natural Resources, along with tourism partners through the U.S. 23 Heritage Route to bring some of the dreams and diversity of tourism development opportunities identified in this planning effort to life. We are proud of our investment to promote sustainable coastal tourism across northeast Michigan.

4H20, sechi disc, schoolship, Alpena

Finally, and perhaps most exciting, has been our work in Northeast Michigan to connect youth – through their learning – in environmental stewardship projects that make a difference in their communities. Through our Center for Great Lakes Literacy and our leadership for the Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative partnership, we provide support for schools, educators and youth. Through this work students are engaged as leaders and valued partners in their community addressing important issues of water quality, habitat restoration, invasive species monitoring, biodiversity conservation, marine debris prevention, ecotourism development opportunities, and more! Through their projects youth are not only the future for northeast Michigan but serving as valued leaders and partners in Great Lakes stewardship today.

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

Northeast Michigan is rich in Great Lakes and natural resources, and these rural communities across the region benefit from many undeveloped areas from woodlands, waterways, and Great Lakes coastline. Access offers residents and tourists alike a wealth of experiences from hunting and fishing, wetlands and birding, kayaking and maritime heritage. These assets define the region’s sunrise side identity. Northeast Michigan communities continue to look to the Great Lakes as an opportunity to promote economic development but in a resource-responsible way. A challenge will be finding ways to develop resource opportunities, such as through ecotourism, without compromising the quality of life and sense of place this region so much enjoys.

sturgeon teacher dev DSC_5873

How will you and Michigan Sea Grant help?

The most energizing part of my work with Sea Grant is the opportunity to facilitate new partnerships, where we can bring together new networks of people and partners together in ways that catalyze new opportunities. It continues to be rewarding to think of the many new opportunities that may arise when we connect fisheries stakeholders as part of a coastal tourism development initiative; or when we cross-connect school students as citizen scientists working alongside Great Lakes scientists to accomplish a coastal biodiversity mapping project.

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

I have found my fisheries and Great Lakes science career to be entirely rewarding. Where my passion lies in fisheries science and education, I would challenge students to explore the wide diversity and variety environmental careers to be explored. Careers may range from research to management to law enforcement to even education opportunities. I would encourage students to explore the possibilities, reflect on their passions, and grab opportunities to job shadow or work alongside the professionals currently in these careers. This is not only a great opportunity to explore a potential future career, but also potentially contribute to environmental stewardship opportunities today.

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

In Michigan, we are extremely rich in Great Lakes and natural resources – they define our sense of place and who we are. Leveraging science can help us care for our Great Lakes, and in trade they will take care of us.

We collectively share responsibility to protect, conserve, and care for these amazing freshwater seas – one fifth of the world’s surface freshwater – found right in our own backyard. Yet, we also gain great benefit from this investment – both personally and as a state – through the many social, ecological, and economic values these resources trade back to us. After all, if we can apply science to enhance water quality we gain clean drinking water, if we reduce marine debris entering our lakes we gain clean beaches on which to swim and play, and if we manage our fisheries and address issues like invasive species than we gain a wide diversity of Great Lakes fish to be to be caught for fun and for food.

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. 

Saginaw Bay Fishing Camp

Event Date: 7/18/2016
End Date: 7/20/2016

This camp is open to all youth between the ages of 8 and 12 year old as of Jan. 1, 2016.

The cost is $20.

The deadline to register is July 11, 2016, space is limited to 40 participants.

The last date for online registration is July 11, 2016. Online registration closes at 11:59 p.m. on the Registration End Date.

BioBlitz Professional Development for Educators

Event Date: 7/23/2016

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As part of this year’s BioBlitz, educators will receive training with the Michigan Environmental Education Curriculum Support (MEECS) Ecosystems and Biodiversity unit, make classroom connections for the iNaturalist app, and learn about other hands-on, place-based activities for their classrooms.

Please register for this professional development opportunity on the Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (NEMIGLSI) website (under the “Professional Development” tab).

NEMIGLSI is providing educator stipends to NE Michigan educators who attend the training.

Date: Saturday, July 23rd
Time: 9 am – 3:30 pm
Location: Treetops Resort, 4440 Whitmarsh Rd., Vanderbilt, MI 49795

Training, materials, and lunch are provided to registrants free of charge.

For questions about this training, contact Dani Fegan at dani.nemiglsi@gmail.com or (989) 356-8805, ext 41.

See: BioBlitz flyer (PDF)

Regional Seafood Workshop highlights health benefits of fish

Consumers should eat at least two fish meals per week.

A Great Lakes Regional Seafood Workshop held recently at theUniversity of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Continuing Education Conference Center in Milwaukee, Wis., highlighted the nutritional benefits of eating Great Lakes fish.

The workshop was sponsored by the University of Delaware Sea Grant, the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network, and the University Of Wisconsin Milwaukee School Of Freshwater Sciences. Michigan Sea Grant presented on “Great Lakes Whitefish Marketing Case Study” to demonstrate how promoting the attributes of a Great Lakes fish can increase sales. Those who attended the workshop received seafood quality and safety training to increase their technical knowledge and understanding of important global, national, and regional and local issues and developments related to seafood safety and human health.

Doris Hicks, Seafood Technology Specialist for University of Delaware Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service, also discussed the benefits of consuming seafood. Health benefits from seafood consumption include reduced coronary heart disease, improved cognitive development in infants, and improved vision in children. Other potential effects, but less certain, include reduction of certain cancers, improved immunological response, delay onset of Alzheimer’s, and lessening the effects of depression.

Consumers should eat eight ounces or more of a variety of seafood per week in place of other meats for maintaining good health. U.S. health organizations recommend a daily fish oil eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) intake of 250 mg for most consumers and 1000 mg for people with cardiovascular disease. Pregnant women should eat at least eight ounces and up to twelve ounces of a variety of seafood per week that are lower in mercury. The nutritional value of fish is important during growth and development before birth, in early infancy for breastfed infants, and in childhood.

Research has shown the majority of the population is consuming some seafood but most are not consuming as much as recommended. And while most of the public recognizes the health advantages of seafood, more than half have also heard something negative. Fish advisory recommendations are not clearly understood and oftentimes confuse the public.

Both farmed and wild-caught seafood are nutrient-dense foods that are rich sources of healthy fatty acids. The risk of contamination is similar between farmed and wild caught seafood and does not outweigh the health benefits of consuming seafood. Wild-caught seafood cannot meet the growing demand thus creating a need for sustainable seafood farming practices.

WEBINAR: Preserving the Working Waterfront: Stories from the Nation’s Coast

Event Date: 6/22/2016

NWWN logoThe National Working Waterfront Network will host a webinar June 22, 2016, 3:00 pm EST on the NWWN Oral History Project.

Preserving the Working Waterfront: Stories from the Nation’s Coast. Funded by NOAA Preserve America, the project captures ten oral histories for local champions on the frontlines of working waterfront preservation.

During the webinar, project team members will provide an overview of the collection while a representative from Fishtown, Michigan will expand on her community’s experience using historic preservation and folklore as tools for working waterfront preservation.

Plan to join us on June 22, 2016, and please share this announcement with your own “network.”

For more information on the collection, see:

www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/humandimensions/voices-from-the-fisheries/index
or
www.wateraccessus.com/oralhistory.cfm

To pre-register for the webinar, please send an email to Stephanie Otts at sshowalt@olemiss.edu.
To join the webinar, visit the WebEx homepage at: www.webex.com. From there, click on “join” and enter the following Meeting Number: 193 446 623.

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

Mary Bohling’s passion for paddling has helped bring water trails to Detroit.

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

Our MSU 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.

Mary Bohling is located in Southgate, Michigan, and serves Macomb, Monroe, St. Clair and Wayne counties. She has been an extension educator for 10 years. Mary earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental science, environmental studies and anthropology and a master’s degree in environmental science from the University of Michigan.

Mary is passionate about paddling and peddling (kayaks and bikes, that is). She works with coastal communities, nonprofit groups and businesses in a four-county district along the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, Detroit River and western Lake Erie applying science-based knowledge to address Great Lakes issues, including economic development, habitat restoration, coastal tourism initiatives, and greenway/water trail development.

In addition, Mary is the chair of the Michigan Statewide Public Advisory Council, chair of the Michigan Trails Advisory Council Non-Motorized Advisory Workgroup Water Trail Subcommittee, co-chair of the Downriver Linked Greenways Initiative, and co-founder and board member of the International Wildlife Refuge Alliance.

Mary Bohling, Michigan Sea Grant extension educator, at the "Paddle by Your Refuge" event on the Detroit River.

Mary Bohling, Michigan Sea Grant extension educator, at the “Paddle by Your Refuge” event on the Detroit River.

 

What made you decide to be an extension educator?

Prior to coming to Michigan Sea Grant, I worked for a utility company that routinely partnered with MSG on habitat restoration and other environmental projects in southeast Michigan. As a project partner, I was able to see firsthand how impactful the Sea Grant extension educators can be. When the position opened up I jumped at the chance to transition to extension.

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

Find someone who works in the area you are interested in and see if you can job shadow them. The job is often different than what you envision. Do it early so you can change focus if it’s not what you expected. When I was in my last semester of community college, I did an internship as a state park ranger because I thought that’s what I wanted to do. I found out that rangers don’t spend all of their time outdoors, enjoying the natural resources that they are working to protect. They sometimes have to do reports, clean bathrooms and other facilities, repair equipment and other administrative tasks. I was still interested but it was good to learn more about what I’d be getting into if I pursued that career path.

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

Get involved! There are so many grassroots environmental organizations that rely on volunteers to accomplish their missions. Find one that speaks to your environmental passion, roll up your sleeves and make a difference.

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. 

We appreciate our students!

Molly Good Amanda Guthrie Erin Jarvie Betsy Riley So-Jung Youn

Recently 119 MSU students received Heart and Soul Awards for their time, effort, and personal commitment to community engagement. Five students were nominated by Heather Triezenberg, extension specialist and program coordinator for Michigan Sea Grant Extension. The awards were given by Michigan Campus Compact during National Volunteer Week.

Thank you Molly Good, Amanda Guthrie, Erin JarvieBetsy Riley, and So-Jung Youn, for your ongoing work with Michigan Sea Grant Extension, MSU Extension and other partners!

Drill Conductor Training for Great Lakes commercial fishing vessel captains

Event Date: 6/21/2016
End Date: 7/1/2016

Commercial fishers are required to practice monthly emergency drills covering 10 contingencies.

Alaska commercial fishermen on a purse seine vessel donning immersion suits as part of a Drill Conductor Training course.

Alaska commercial fishermen on a purse seine vessel donning immersion suits as part of a Drill Conductor Training course. Ron Kinnunen | Michigan Sea Grant

Michigan Sea Grant is coordinating Drill Conductor Training courses to be held throughout the Great Lakes region this summer. The training will help Great Lakes commercial fishing vessel captains fulfill U.S. Coast Guard regulations related to instruction, drills and safety orientations, and onboard emergency instruction. Commercial fishers are required to practice monthly emergency drills covering 10 contingencies spelled out in the regulation. Persons conducting these drills must have passed a Drill Conductor Training course.

Contingencies covered in the drills include:

  • Abandoning vessel
  • Fighting fire in different locations on vessel
  • Recovering an individual from the water
  • Minimizing effects of unintentional flooding
  • Launching survival craft and recovering life boats and rescue boats
  • Donning immersion suits and other wearable floatation devices
  • Donning fireman’s outfit and self-contained breathing apparatus if equipped
  • Making a voice radio distress call and using visual distress signals
  • Activating the general alarm
  • Reporting inoperative alarm systems and fire detection system

Operators are required to give comprehensive orientations to all new persons coming aboard before departure. Commercial fishers need to have written safety information onboard. Depending on crew size this information needs to be posted if four or more crew members are onboard or kept as an available booklet if there are less than four crew members. The Alaska Marine Safety Education Association (AMSEA) provides copies of the required information as part of the Drill Conductor class.

Emergency instruction must identify:

  • Survival craft embarkation stations aboard vessel and survival craft to which each individual is assigned
  • Fire and emergency signal and abandon ship signal
  • If immersion suits are provided, the location of suits and illustrated instructions for donning
  • Procedures for making a distress call
  • Essential action that must be taken in an emergency by each individual
  • Procedures for rough weather at sea, crossing hazardous bars, flooding, and anchoring of the vessel
  • Procedures to be used in the event an individual falls overboard
  • Procedures for fighting a fire

The commercial fishing vessel operator or captain should be the one to attend a Drill Conductor class. If space is limited, we encourage the operator or captain to be the only participant from the crew. However, if there is room in class, we encourage crew members to participate, too. Most of our classes include both operators and crew.

The schedule for the upcoming classes include:

  • June 21, 2016: Ojibwa Casino Resort, 16449 Michigan Ave. (M-38), Baraga, MI
  • June 23, 2016: Legendary Waters Resort and Casino, 37600 Onigamiing Drive, Red Cliff, WI
  • June 25, 2016: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Office, 110 S. Neenah Ave., Sturgeon Bay, WI
  • June 27, 2016: Top of the Lake Snowmobile Museum, W11660 U.S. 2, Naubinway, MI
  • June 29, 2016: Grand Traverse Bay Medicine Lodge, Stallman Road/McKeese Road, Suttons Bay, MI
  • July 1, 2016: Fairhaven Township Hall, 9811 Main Street, Bay Port, MI

Registration

All  classes will be held from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. AMSEA will be assisting with several of the courses and you must register at the AMSEA website. For additional information, contact Ron Kinnunen (Michigan Sea Grant) at (906) 226-3687 or kinnune1@msu.edu.

2016 Summer Discovery Cruises Registration

Event Date: 5/9/2016
End Date: 8/31/2016

Patrons standing on the bow of the R/V Clinton, enjoying a Summer Discovery Cruise on Lake St. Clair

Patrons standing on the bow of the R/V Clinton, enjoying a cruise on Lake St. Clair.

Do you want to learn about the Great Lakes by being on the Great Lakes? If so, you will want to learn more about our 2016 Summer Discovery Cruises season!

For the 15th summer, Michigan Sea Grant Extension will provide Michiganders (and visitors to Michigan) with the opportunity to learn about the Great Lakes by being on the Great Lakes. Cruises depart from Lake Erie Metropark, with cruises on the lower Detroit River and Lake Erie, and Lake St. Clair Metropark, cruising Lake St. Clair.

The 2016 season offers more than 20 educational cruises around themes such as Fisheries, Wildlife, Wetlands, Shipwrecks, Lighthouses, Weather, Shipping and more. Cruises for educators wanting to enhance the use of Great Lakes content in their teaching are also provided, with stipends.

Some of the exciting cruises for the 2016 season include:

  • Lake St. Clair Fisheries: This is not a fishing cruise, but it definitely is a “fishy” cruise! Learn first-hand about the fish that are found in Lake St. Clair, many of which are available for hands-on examination during the cruise. We will be joined by a Michigan DNR Fisheries Biologist and rendezvous with their research vessel while out on the lake to observe fish tagging, measuring and other research operations.
  • Warfare on the Waterfront: The War of 1812, World War II, and even the American Civil War have all shaped the Detroit River and western Lake Erie. Long after the end of hostilities, remnants of this military presence can still be found. Join an Interpreter for an in-depth look at these conflicts, their sites and stories, and see how they impacted the region and the world.
  • Shipwreck at Sugar: Just under the waves off a crumbling Sugar Island dock lie the remains of a vessel sank in 1945. Travel with our resident historian to the wreck site to learn about the S.S. Seabreeze, the story of how it got there and the circumstances surrounding its mysterious sinking.
  • Birds, Boats & Booze (4 hour history cruise): Many things brought people to the St. Clair River Delta Flats area. The abundant wetlands brought duck hunters and fishing. Wood boats and passenger steamers brought tourism and recreation, and Prohibition brought rumrunners and speakeasies to the region. Spend a little more time in “the flats” with us as we cruise farther up the South Channel and share a little of the past including stories of the big hotels, Tashmoo Park, Chris Craft boat building and more.
  • Great Lakes Science for Kids: Learn about the ecology of Lake St. Clair or Lake Erie, by using the tools a Great Lakes Scientist uses to determine water quality by studying the plants and animals of the lakes. Try your hand at using a plankton net, bottom dredge, water testing kit, underwater camera, and binoculars to discover the exciting nature of the lake and become a Great Lakes Scientist!

To learn about the Great Lakes by being on the Great Lakes, visit the Summer Discovery Cruises web site at www.discoverycruises.org for complete cruise descriptions, locations, dates and times, as well as directions on how to register for your 2016 Summer Discovery Cruises. Don’t miss the boat!

Mobile app lets Great Lakes anglers share needed data with biologists

The Great Lakes Angler Diary program needs volunteers to test, improve app.

The Great Lakes are enormous. They cover 94,000 square miles and contain roughly 6 quadrillion gallons of water. With so much water to cover, scientists are increasingly interested in using “citizen science” to fill in knowledge gaps. Thanks to the widespread availability of mobile technology, many anglers are already equipped with high-tech hardware necessary for recording quality data. All they need is appropriate software to guide and organize their efforts.

This is where the Great Lakes Angler Diary web-based app comes in. The app builds off the success of the pen-and-paper Salmon Ambassadors angler science program, which enlisted anglers in recording length, location, and fin clip information on stocked and wild Chinook salmon.

The Great Lakes Angler Diary app does all that and more. In addition to enabling anglers to enter data on Chinook salmon, the app includes:

  • Length, fin clip, and general location recording for all Great Lakes salmon & trout.
  • Data entry for walleye, muskie, and sturgeon.
  • Option to record info on lamprey wounds.
  • Optional photo uploading to verify species identification, fin clips, and wounds.

In its current form, the Great Lakes Angler Diary is geared toward collection of data, but angler feedback during the 2016 fishing season will be used to guide future development of additional features. App developers are looking for anglers who:

  • Fish regularly on the Great Lakes or connecting waters.
  • Target a variety of trout and salmon species, muskie, walleye, or sturgeon.
  • Enjoy using technology and experimenting with new products.
  • Have an interest in sharing data with scientists to improve Great Lakes fisheries management.

If this describes you, then e-mail glanglerdiary@gmail.com to register and receive a Volunteer Number needed to log into the site. Visit www.glanglerdiary.org to log in after you register. Registered users will be contacted up to three times over the course of the fishing season and asked to provide answers to short surveys designed to improve the existing app.

The Great Lakes Angler Diary is being developed by Brenton Consulting, LLC, with funding from Detroit Area Steelheaders and guidance from Michigan Sea Grant.