The Shocking Truth!
Aliens Suck the Flesh of Visiting Teachers
Hitchhiker Dangers Exposed
Invaders from Overseas Wreak Economic Havoc
Educators Going “In-seine” – Are Their Students Next??
Shady Characters Seen Throughout the Great Lakes
Today’s themes were Aquatic Invasive Species, and Fisheries Sampling and Research.
Anjanette Bowen from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service kicked off the day with an introduction of a few of the more than 180 plant and animal aquatic invasive species residing in the Great Lakes region. In the following session, entitled “Don’t Stop for Hitchhikers,” Illinois Sea Grant educator Robin Goettel continued the invasives strand with an introduction to an engaging website “Nab the Aquatic Invader! Be a Sea Grant Super Sleuth.” (www.sgnis.org/kids). Check it out! Find out more about aquatic bad guys and the ranks of investigators hot on their trails.
Trekking north to the top of Grand Lake, we stopped at a spillway to investigate aquatic life there. Brandon Schroeder, a Michigan State Fisheries Extension education agent, led us through “most excellent” activities.
Within moments of arrival, he had turned over a seine to Bruce Szczechowski (MI), Heidi Igo (MN), and Kim Swanson (MN) with which they gathered a fine assortment of candidates for examination. The prize specimen was an 18” northern pike. Jennifer Fleck remarked, “It was so fun to play with fish again. We found a lot of turtles, frogs, and crayfish too, and a very cool, non-parasitic, fat, green-speckled leech!”
The rock hounds among us discovered more fossil treasures [again] at the site.
Just up the road from our waterside experience, we met Roger Bergstedt, USGS sea lamprey biologist, at the Hammond Bay Biological Station.
Roger shared research about sea lampreys: when they came into the Great Lakes, the harms they caused to fisheries, and successful efforts to limit their damage. He followed his presentation with an opportunity to get up close to these creatures. Anyone game for the experience offered a hand or forearm for sea lamprey attachment. Those suckers can really get a grip!
Fisherman Albert LaBlance told us a story about commercial fishing in Lake Huron. His family had been fishing the region since 1860, and he said that the last 15 years brought more negative changes to the area than the previous 500 years. He decried that ship carriers have brought terrible influences to the Great Lakes in the form of hitchhiking aquatic invasive species, costing millions of intervention/remediation dollars.
“What is cyanobacteria, and can I eat it?” (evaluator Howard Walters, referring to the purple bacteria found in area sinkhole settings)
“When I’m on the loose, which is often, I cause strife – loosestrife. Get it? (participant Bruce Szczechowski commenting on the invasive purple loosestrife plant)
“My wife’s never going to believe I was in Alpena – I’m so tan!” (participant Dwight Sieggreen)
“You can’t fix stupid.” (presenter Howard Walters)