In Touch with the World through the www
People who live around the Great Lakes often take them for granted. I wrote The Dynamic Great Lakes, to give people enough information to make intelligent choices in their every day lives about the world’s greatest freshwater system. The Dynamic Great Lakes is a book about their ecology and the mistakes people have made when altering the landscape by making locks for shipping, destroying wetlands or introducing new species both intentionally and unintentionally. It was my aim in writing this book to make people appreciate these lakes and understand what they might do for their betterment.
Most people do not understand the significance of the Great Lakes. They are twenty per cent of the world’s fresh surface water and need to be protected. These lakes’ freshwater will be hotly contested as more and more industries and people in arid parts of the world would like to exploit them. It is indeed happening now. Some large freshwater lakes in the world have been destroyed—drawn down to nothing through a lack of understanding.
Bottling plants have their eyes on the Great Lakes. Bottling water and shipping it out of the watershed will destroy the integrity of the lakes and their unique ecosystems. People in the Great Lakes watershed argue that the water belongs to the commons and should not be sold for private profit. There are many more issues the book addresses: directional drilling for oil, nuclear power plants, exotic species, wetlands, sand dunes and pollution from industries and municipalities.
The best way to publicize the book is to make a website and then make a lot of links to other websites about Great Lakes related topics. My book and my website are both entitled The Dynamic Great Lakes. People who use my website have access to a daily news update on the Great Lakes as well as many links to other good information about various aspects of the lakes. The website is easy to find and easy to navigate. I have had people tell me that they purchased my book after making a search on the internet. Some simply typed in the name of one of the Great Lakes or a key word such as salmon. I get the most hits from people who type in pictures of the Great Lakes or satellite maps of the Great Lakes. Most people are visual learners.
The Dynamic Great Lakes website gets thousands of hits since it is suitable for both adults and children. They surf the web and find the information they seek about the Great Lakes. Classrooms from grade school through university level find particular knowledge, maps or pictures from the Great Lakes. The website is easily found with key words on major search engines. I used meta tags with key words such as freshwater, anadromous fish, coho salmon, Chinook salmon, sand dunes, wetlands, Chicago, Cleveland, Duluth, lamprey eel.
The website has information about where to purchase the book, and links to reviews. It is available on many online stores such as Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, ecampus and many others. On searches such as Addall.com, one may find the best price and availability at other stores such as ecampus, Alibris, and Chapters in Canada. The book is available in Europe and Asia.
I wrote the book and created the website so that people might find the information they need about the Great Lakes. It gives the basics and yet limnologists have told me they learned things about the Great Lakes they did not know, while general readers have told me that they never appreciated the Great Lakes until they read my book. Another motive in writing the book was to raise consciousness about the greatest freshwater system on the surface of Earth and the need to protect what we have. Armed with such knowledge, people are in a good position to make good decisions about the lakes.
One of the first educational websites and newsletters that featured The Dynamic Great Lakes website was www.Spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk in the U.K. I have had responses from around the globe: Germany, France, USSR, Scandinavia, China, and many other places. I believe the world wants to know about the Great Lakes.
The Dynamic Great Lakes has been added to the National Clearinghouse of Math and Science, The Eisenhower Regional Consoritia (enc online) a database for math and science, a resource widely used by schools.
I have my e mail address on my website and I have responded to students who have questions for me. I have responded to teachers who have invited me to give a talks in their classrooms. I sent materials to a classroom aide requesting material for a financially disadvantaged school.
I have given talks about the ever-changing Great Lakes at several bookstores, libraries and museums.
Several public radio stations, and several public television stations have interviewed me and prominently displayed my book cover and URL as the program was aired, or in the case of radio, repeated the URL of my website over the air several times.
The Dynamic Great Lakes, the book, will be listed as a resource in an educational program under development for the Great Lakes in Michigan. The book is also listed as a resource in a book published by Michigan State University
Because of a great many favorable reviews, the book has been critically acclaimed and re released by Independence Books. It has also been updated with new material. The Dynamic Great Lakes is in its third printing. I believe that having a website has helped get the word out and this led to the book being chosen by the publisher to be re released. The book is in its third printing.
The website allows me to reach a worldwide audience. Since fresh water will become more and more important as some arid parts of the world and the United States are running dry, information about the world’s greatest freshwater system is needed. If we do not work to conserve our life giving freshwater, we may find that the integrity of the lakes is damaged beyond repair. My website allows people to see satellite views of the Great Lakes as well as places around the Great Lakes of interest: Chicago, Cleveland, Lake Michigan with its singing sands, the Door Peninsula in Canada and the Bruce Peninsula in Canada with their limestone formations, population centers, invasive species, fish, both endemic and planted or accidentally released into the lakes.
A website can be a valuable adjunct to a book. To keep the website fresh, I change it from time to time. I have another book, The Wilderness Within, a book of poems and a few essays. It is about wild places in the world and within the self. I have a new poem each month taken from the text. Although different genres, the two books were both written with a deep appreciation of nature.
My poems are published on other websites that appreciate my work: The Lunar Archives, the PW Review, Artvilla, Prairie Poetry, Wise Women’s Web, Betsie’s Literary Page, Creative Women’s Network UK.; Care2 These websites can be accessed around the globe. In this way I can publish new work until I decide to publish another collection of poetry. There is a community of poets who support and appreciate one another.
There is a community of people who are involved in the work of educating about the environment, and groups whose aim is to make a difference in improving the environment. I can be in touch with these groups with a few keystrokes. They let me know what is new and often send good feedback about my website. Often we trade links.
These websites are Environmental Education on the internet (EE link); National Science Teachers Association (nst); Planeta.com; http://www.nalms.org; Teachers.net; Presbyterians for Restoring Nature; www.ecoiq.com; eco-portal; getCited; Book Sense; Care2 Environment Supersite; Michigan Authors and Illustrators Search Page; waterwebring; www.ideacog.net, a clever literary website; Creative Womens Network; A Celebration of Women Writers; Snakeskin; Teacher Talk Earth and Sky; 2River.org, a literary website and Poets House in New York City, www.poetshouse.org.
Some of the most ardent conservationists are outdoorsmen and women. I won an award from Water and Woods for my website. I contribute articles to websites and sometimes they review my book: Lakeland Boating has such a website as does Great Lakes Boating; www.great-lakes.org; Fishing With Rod, a website in British Columbia where my book was reviewed; Float Fishing, a website in Toronto.
I can be in touch with communities in far-flung places with my website. My book is available to purchase in other countries such as Canada, Japan, Germany, England, and France, Australia through various on-line stores.