The University of Wisconsin's Sea Grant Institute's mission of research, education and public outreach about the water resources of Wisconsin extends to every part of the state, and perhaps one of the most critical areas for this work involves our immense lake on our eastern shore, Lake Michigan. Michigan is the world's fifth largest freshwater lake in volume and in surface size; the lake faces special challenges now due to invasive species that are changing the essential food web of the lake. The considerable human presence around Lake Michigan brings special urgency for efforts to quantify and maintain water quality, as well as for campaigns to promote cleaner and safer beaches. Find out how Sea Grant has supported these various initiatives in this informative podcast series, framed in a narrative road trip taken by audio specialist Chris Bocast and his trusty dog. As always, special attention is paid to the contributions of the many graduate students whom Sea Grant sponsors, who brighten the podcasts with their enthusiasm and insight.
An Inconceivable Commerce and the Nearshore Shunt
In this initial episode, UW Sea Grant audio specialist Chris Bocast starts off on a podcast road trip to visit Lake Michigan, and to discover the various research and outreach projects that UW Sea Grant supports. First stop is Whitefish Dunes State Park: on the way to the beach, a stroll through the reconstruction of a pre-settlement Indian encampment brings to mind aspects of the lake’s history, while the shore itself stirs thoughts about the challenges and changes facing Lake Michigan, which are detailed in a chat with UW Sea Grant director Jim Hurley.
Maps and Apps
In this podcast, Chris and the dog head to Potawatomi State Park on Green Bay. He finds out from UW-Madison graduate student Francis Eanes about a new iPhone application that Sea Grant is helping to develop, and how these kinds of neo-geography apps have the potential to completely reinvent how people use and interact with mapping technology.
Outreach, Islands, and Waterfowl
In this episode, Chris heads to the Green Bay Wildlife Sanctuary to speak with UW Sea Grant Water Quality Specialist Vicky Harris. Vicky explains what outreach specialists like herself do and describes some of the many projects around Green Bay that she has worked on, and how they have helped the many communities around this part of Lake Michigan. Hear how Sea Grant has contributed to the return of both islands and waterfowl in the area as Chris and Vicky take a stroll through the sanctuary.
Surfing the Midcoast
The series rolls into Sheboygan in this episode, as Chris seeks out the story of surfing on Lake Michigan, and gets the rundown from legendary surfers Larry “Longboard” Williams and Lee “the Waterflea” Williams. Along the way he and the dog run into some Sheboygan locals on the beach, who share some of their Midwestern spirit and sense of fun with him. Hear the beach at Sheboygan and the waves crash over South Pier as the Williams brothers share an amazing depth of knowledge about Lake Michigan and the rise of surf culture in Sheboygan.
Beaches, Gulls, and Bacteria
In this episode, Chris and his dog stop at Harrington Beach State Park, on the shores of Lake Michigan. Listening to the gulls at the beach and seeing the warning signs about bacteria and beach closings, Chris recalls an informative conversation he had with Dr. Sandra McLellan and a graduate student from her lab, Amber Koskey. They reveal the science and challenges behind monitoring bacteria at beaches – the process that helps determine whether beaches are safe for swimming. Their work is vital for the health and safety of everyone who enjoys swimming in Lake Michigan waters.
Jobs for Dogs and Environmental Social Science
In this episode, Chris and Doggus head to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's School of Freshwater Sciences. Interesting things unfold outside, which call to mind unusual opportunities of employment for dogs, as well as some common sense things about feeding birds and owning dogs. Jane Harrison, an environmental social scientist working for Sea Grant, joins them for a walk and a chat about her work before Chris heads inside.