March 29, 2017
Hands On Outdoor Learning
I’m told that children learn through play. From what I have experienced, I believe that everyone can learn through play. Our family has been playing in, on and around the Great Lakes most of our lives. We have learned a lot while we swam, boated, fished and beach combed. The lakes engaged all our senses: the splash of cold water, the sound of the waves, the silence of fog, hot sand underfoot and the way it sings when you drag your toes across it, the ever changing colors and rhythms of waves, the times fish bite the best. The outdoors have many lessons to teach if we pay attention.
Family vacations took us to all of the Great Lakes; the majesty of Niagara Falls; to the rocky shores of Lake Superior where we hunted for agates; to many embayments and open waters of the lakes to fish. My husband Norm, has caught nearly every kind of fish in the lakes: walleye from Lake Erie and the embayments of the upper Great Lakes, deep water fish such as lake trout and burbot, and the annual runs of white fish and perch Pacific salmon that were planted to control alewives.
We have all learned so much from our outdoor adventures; changing colors, their beaches of stone or sand, waterfalls, fishes and birds, wetlands , and dunes with their succession of plants. In our play around the Great Lakes, we always learn something new.
With all of this hands-on experience I wrote a non-fiction book, The Dynamic Great Lakes, a non-fiction primer. I had wanted a book like this to read, but I never found one so I decided to write a book with information that people could use to make sound decisions about the Great Lakes.
I am also the published author of three poetry books: The Wilderness Within and Sophia’s Lost and Found: Poems of Above and Below and Between Sweetwater and Sand. The last book will be released July 30, 2013( These poems are drawn directly from observations of nature.
At Grand Valley State University, I developed writing classes based upon environmental studies. This gave students important topics to work with. I did not want papers recycled from high school. I assigned books such as The Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold and Blue Highways by William Least-Heat Moon and Thoreau. We discussed the topics and writing techniques used by these authors.
I asked my students to go outdoors and use observation and to use the five senses. They kept journals based on what they saw and even how they felt about what they saw. I brought things from nature such as feathers and plants indoors for students to hold in their hands and then describe in concrete detail. They played with the downy feathers, blowing on them and closely observing them.
I asked them to use metaphor and to use as many of the five senses as they could in their descriptions. Student writing becomes grounded in reality when using these sorts of exercises.
Our lives become grounded when playing outdoors.
Click the link for reviews of The Dynamic Great Lakes
June 7, 2016
Upper and Lower Great Lakes Podcast please click the link
Below my painting of a tern and a map of the Great Lakes system.
March 6, 2016
click the link above
This critically acclaimed book is also available in paperback from many bookstores and online at Amazon.com, bn.com and many other places.
July 25, 2014
Oil Spill Threatens Great Lakes Click on the link for information about an aging oil pipline that is a threat to the freshwater Great Lakes.
July 8, 2014
National Geographic Maps Click the link for a National Geographic article and maps.
December 14, 2011
The Dynamic Great Lakes is available in the new edition at Barnes & Noble online or in stores. It is also available at Schuler Books and Music, The Bookman, Amazon.com (paper and Kindle edition) and many other fine stores.
September 8, 2011
To learn about the Great Lakes and their interesting features, The Dynamic Great Lakes is for you.
Now updated in a fourth edition, Amazon has made the book available on the Kindle e reader as well as in paperback. The book is concise and suitable for all readers.
August 22, 2011
July 25, 2011
This NOAA map shows the depths of all five Great Lakes. Lake Superior some believe is shaped like a wolf’s head with Isle Royale the eye. It is the largest and deepest. Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are the same sea level. Lake Erie waters take a tumble over Niagara Falls and the water arrives in Lake Ontario and then down the St. Lawrence River to the Atlantic Ocean. Read more about these fresh water seas in my book, The Dynamic Great Lakes available from many online bookstores as well as the publisher http://www.publishamerica.net/product23502.html Only $9.95 + shipping for the new updated edition.