News and Events

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.

Great Lakes 4-H Camp

Event Date: 7/31/2016
End Date: 8/6/2016

The 4-H Great Lakes and Natural Resource camp offers great outdoor hands-on learning experiences for students 13-15 years old. The annual camp runs for one week, held in late July or early August on the northern shores of Lake Huron in Presque Isle, Michigan.

Have Fun Outdoors

Campers can do things like explore dunes, hike through the forests, and wade through wetlands, or fish, snorkel and sail on Lake Huron — all while learning about their surroundings from natural resource professionals, teachers and science researchers.

About Camp

Camp Chickagami, is located between Alpena and Rogers City. Camp Chickagami has dormitory-style housing, small cabins, a dining hall, toilet and shower facilities. Meals will be prepared and served in the dining hall by a qualified cook. See sample Camp Schedule below.

The camp is leased for this program by Michigan 4-H Youth Development from the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Michigan. It is operated as a camp licensed by the State of Michigan and directed by Michigan 4-H Youth Development. You do not need to be a 4-H member to attend.

Fees

Camp fees include meals, lodging, program and activity costs. Note that nearly half of the expenses of the program are covered by sponsors. Some scholarships are available. For up to date information, see camp costs.

Awards

  • 2008 National 4-H Program of Distinction
  • 2009 National 4-H and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Natural Resources Conservation Education Award (camp is a MSU Pre-College Program)

Sponsors

IAGLR 2016

Event Date: 6/6/2016
End Date: 6/10/2016

Fellow researchers from around the world will gather at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario, for IAGLR’s 59th annual Conference on Great Lakes Research. A great program is in store with four days of scientific sessions and speakers focusing on our theme Great Lakes Solutions: Integrating Across Disciplines & Scales.

Learn more

Project F.I.S.H. volunteer training workshops

Event Date: 5/17/2016
End Date: 5/25/2016

Program helps mentor next generation of anglers

Mark Stephens of Project F.I.S.H. teaches Saginaw Bay youth about fish anatomy. Photo: Michigan Sea Grant

Mark Stephens of Project F.I.S.H. teaches Saginaw Bay youth about fish anatomy. Photo: Michigan Sea Grant

Project F.I.S.H. is an award-winning youth fishing and mentorship program working to preserve fishing as part of Michigan’s natural heritage and foster the next generation of anglers to enjoy and care for the state’s rich fishing resources.

MSU Extension and Michigan Sea Grant are partnering with 4-Hand Project F.I.S.H. to bring a new series of youth fishing education opportunities to the Saginaw Bay region. Volunteers are needed to help make this new series of youth and family fishing initiatives possible!

A three-session workshop will be held in May in Bay City, offering Project F.I.S.H. training for Saginaw Bay region volunteers. The partnership received a grant from the Dow Corning Foundation with support from the Saginaw Community Foundation to make this training free to residents of Bay and Saginaw counties.

During the training workshops volunteers will:

  • Learn hands-on youth-focused methods for teaching a variety of topics including tackle crafting, angling skills, aquatic ecology, and fisheries management and ethics.
  • Connect with youth fishing education partners and volunteer opportunities in the Saginaw Bay region.
  • Receive a toolbox of fishing education materials that includes a spincast rod and reel, backyard bass game, tackle box, tackle crafting supplies, bluegill fish print mold, a stewardship project guide and the full Project F.I.S.H. curriculum with detailed instructions for over 100 fishing education activities.

The program will be held 6-9 p.m. May 17, 18 and 25 at Handy Middle School cafeteria, 601 Blend Street, Bay City. Register online before May 13, enrollment is limited.

For questions or additional information contact Katy Hintzen at hintzen@msu.edu or (989) 891-7198.

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

Great Lakes literacy is something Steve Stewart takes seriously

Steve Stewart has taught Great Lakes literacy lessons to thousands of schoolchildren over the years. Photo: Michigan Sea Grant

Steve Stewart has taught Great Lakes literacy lessons to thousands of schoolchildren over the years. Photo: Michigan Sea Grant

In 2016, the National Sea Grant College Program is celebrating its 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 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.

Steve Stewart IMG_0612 copySteve Stewart, located in Macomb County and serving the seven coastal counties in southeast and east Michigan from Monroe through Tuscola, has been an Extension Educator since 1977, when he and Charles Pistis were hired as the first field-based Michigan Sea Grant outreach staff members at Michigan State University. Previously, the program had been based solely at the University of Michigan, with one field staff member—Tom Kelly, who later founded the Inland Seas Education Association—working in northwest Michigan.

Steve received his undergraduate degree in zoology from Miami University, but quickly realized he’d need a graduate degree in order to work in a profession allowing him to pursue his fascination with the world of water. Before heading southwest to Texas A&M University, where he received his M.S. in Marine Resources Management, he began SCUBA diving and explored some of the well-known shipwrecks of Lake Huron, which proved to be directly relevant in his Extension career.

What made you decide to be an Extension Educator?

Steve first learned about Sea Grant while a graduate student. Texas A&M University was among the first Sea Grant programs established, and he liked the research-outreach networks that Sea Grant developed. His graduate program was multidisciplinary, and that fit well with the breadth of topics addressed by the outreach side of Sea Grant. And the fact that his graduation came just before the first Michigan Sea Grant Extension positions were created provided an ideal opportunity.

How has Michigan Sea Grant made a difference over the years?

Looking back at programming successes throughout his career, Steve highlights:

  • the cold water near-drowning research that led to statewide training for emergency medical professionals, with resulting protocol changes that continue to save lives every year;
  • development of the Thumb Area and Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserves in southern Lake Huron, which led to enhanced tourism and artifact preservation;
  • development of computer models to help marina owners determine the profitability of facility development/expansion, and help coastal communities assess the feasibility of various waterfront development options;
  • counseling shoreline property owners about the realities of living with fluctuating Great Lakes water levels, and developing software tools to guide them in choosing best practices for protecting their coastal property and structures;
  • helping to create the 4H Great Lakes & Natural Resources Camp, which has provided teens with an opportunity to experience and learn about the lakes while developing leadership skills since it began in1983;
  • development of the Great Lakes Education Program, which has served more than 105,000 learners from nearly 300 schools in southeast Michigan since 1991;
  • creation of Summer Discovery Cruises to provide a way for the public to learn about the Great Lakes;
  • working with regional colleagues to develop COSEE Great Lakes (Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence) and serving as the outreach/education member on the Great Lakes Observing System developmental committee;
  • and the post-COSEE development of the Center for Great Lakes Literacy, through which educators are provided with career-changing professional development opportunities.

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

The Great Lakes are among Michigan’s greatest assets, so you would expect Great Lakes literacy and stewardship in the Great Lakes State to be high. Unfortunately this is not the case. The next generation of decision-makers needs to be better prepared to address important Great Lakes resource management issues. Michigan Sea Grant will continue to meet this need by engaging students, their teachers and the public in opportunities such as the Great Lakes Education Program, 4-H Great Lakes & Natural Resources Camp, the Center for Great Lakes Literacy, and our Summer Discovery Cruises.

Aquatic invasive species and their many impacts on the Great Lakes will continue to be a challenge, and Michigan Sea Grant will continue to work toward reducing the introduction of new species and mitigating the impacts of those already present.

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

For students interested in careers with an environmental focus, Steve recommends first becoming informed about the diverse career options that exist. Start with resources such as Marine Careers: A Sea Grant guide to Ocean Opportunities and OceanCareers.com. Build a network of contacts in the fields that most interest you as you develop the necessary knowledge and skills for your future career. And work hard, whether engaged in a university degree program or advanced technology training, to make your goal a reality.

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

The Great Lakes belong to all of us collectively, and we all share a responsibility to be good stewards of these incredible natural resources.

Digital Coast Fellowship Opportunity

Event Date: 5/6/2016

NOAA digital coast fellowship
The NOAA Office for Coastal Management is recruiting candidates for three Digital Coast Fellowship opportunities in 2016. This program is modeled after the Coastal Management fellowship program and has a similar mission: to provide on-the-job education and training opportunities in coastal resource management and policy for postgraduate students and to provide project assistance to Digital Coast Partnership organizations.

Three Digital Coast Partnership organizations will be selected as hosts for these fellowships. Digital Coast Partnership organizations include: American Planning Association, Association of State Floodplain Managers, Coastal States Organization, National Association of Counties, National Estuarine Research Reserve Association, National States Geographic Information Council, The Nature Conservancy, and Urban Land Institute.

For the 2016 fellowship, applicants must complete a master’s, doctoral, or professional degree at an accredited U.S. university between January 1, 2015, and July 31, 2016, to be eligible.

A broad range of degrees are applicable to the fellowship because the projects are varied among the partner organizations. This two-year opportunity starts in August 2016, and offers a competitive salary, medical benefits, and travel and relocation expense reimbursement.

Application packages must be submitted to the NOAA Office for Coastal Management by Friday, May 6, 2016, at ocm.fellowships@noaa.gov.

Additional details: