Shedd Aquarium at Sister Lakes Aug. 6Published 7:51am Monday, August 3, 2009
By JOHN EBY
Dowagiac Daily News
Area lake improvement associations Thursday, Aug. 6, at 7 p.m. host Sandy Somodi, a biologist from Chicago’s John G. Shedd Aquarium for a program at Sister Lakes Lions Park off 95th Avenue.
Somodi is also bringing information on Shedd’s new Oceanarium, where whales, dolphins, sea otters, sea lions and penguins live, as well as conservation tools related to keeping the Great Lakes healthy.
Shedd Aquarium’s Great Lakes Conservation Awareness Initiative is a natural extension of its longstanding mission, leveraging core strengths in communication, exhibits, education, community reach and location on the Lake Michigan shore in the largest metropolitan area in the Great Lakes region.
If the Great Lakes and inland lakes such as Magician seem like separate topics, think again.
When it comes to controlling invasive species such as zebra mussels or a cousin which inhabits deeper, colder waters, or mitigating pollution runoff, they are all interconnected, according to Elizabeth Latenser, public relations coordinator for Great Lakes conservation at Shedd Aquarium.
“Another big thing we talk about is native gardening – restoring biodiversity, which is the same at Lake St. Clair” near Detroit as it is at Magician Lake straddling the Cass-Van Buren county line.
Latenser, who is in her second year at Shedd Aquarium, said this sort of outreach represents an “exciting opportunity” in trying to spread awareness of four areas – invasive species, water quality, water overuse and habitat destruction.
“What we’re trying to do is to see our water resources as a whole,” she said.
The big picture, if you will.
Latenser said Somodi has been an educator for seven years, teaching middle school and high school students about the ecology of Lake Michigan and the other four Great Lakes, Huron, Ontario, Erie and Superior.
Somodi, who will be visiting family in Flint after her stop in Dowagiac, is also a diver and a sailor.
In fact, we weren’t able to speak to her directly Friday because she was away from the office diving in Kankakee, Ill., at a manmade quarry training site.
Latenser indicated that Shedd Aquarium ranges far field from Chicago for its Great Lakes basin mission, appearing recently at a river walk festival in Detroit.
Shedd Aquarium, which features “waters of the world” galleries, is named for a philanthropist who worked closely with Marshall Field.
Built in 1930 for $2 million, it is “made of beautiful marble, even the floors,” Latenser said. It is situated on the lakefront adjacent to the Field Museum.
For more information about the Aug. 6 program, contact Charlotte Poole of Magician Lake at (269) 424-3221.