Fellowship to Western Michigan: Sturgeon and Beer!

Earlier this month I took part in an Institutes of Journalism & Natural Resources expedition along the Kalamazoo River in western Michigan. IJNR hosts a few fellowships a year in various places around the U.S. that face environmental challenges.

The 2013 Kalamazoo River fellows. Photograph by Talli Nauman.

The 2013 Kalamazoo River fellows. Photograph by Talli Nauman.

For this trip, we focused on the Kalamazoo River, the site of a 2010 oil spill and a victim of heavy PCB contamination due to the paper mills that once lined the river and polluted the waters. The river is still so polluted that pregnant women can’t eat a single fish out of some parts.

It wasn’t all bad news, though.

The fellows also learned about a reintroduction program for the prehistoric lake sturgeon (which has its skeleton on the outside of its body!), and visited a streamside rearing facility where scientists are growing baby sturgeon to release them into the river.

Canoeing the Kalamazoo River.

Canoeing the Kalamazoo River.

The beach on Lake Michigan in Saugatuck—looks like the ocean!

The beach on Lake Michigan in Saugatuck—looks like the ocean!

One night we had dinner and beer at Arcadia Ales, a brewery in Battle Creek that’s also part of a new program called Brewers for Clean Water. I wrote posts on these projects for National Geographic’s Water Currents blog.

Check them out:

Rebirth of Lake Sturgeon: Freshwater Species of the Week

Breweries Raising Their Glasses to Clean Water

Speaking of blogs, Weird & Wild, the National Geographic blog I founded a few years ago, is doing great and getting lots of regular traffic. I’ve got three contributors, which enables me to keep the blog fresh with odd content almost every day. I’m glad that readers seem to share my love of the bizarre!

I’m going to Italy (Rome) and a few cities in France soon—will update with some hopefully gorgeous pictures of those countries when I get back. Ciao!

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