There is no lake view today. The forecasters were right. The snow is coming down fast and hard, and the winds are whipping it around to obscure everything further than a few feet from my windows. I am snug inside with fond recollections of winters in Buffalo, where mornings such as this were spent anxiously listening to the radio for the school closings. After the closing was announced, we would bundle up and go out to play.
But not me, not today. This is a good day to sit at my computer, still in my robe at 10 AM, with a cup of coffee and a purpose.
I have charged myself with learning more about the Great Lakes, hydrology, and anything else related to the water outside my door. The first place one goes these days to learn is to the internet. That’s what I did this morning and it is quite remarkable what I learned in only an hour of surfing. I found so many websites I don’t know where to begin. It makes me realize that I will have to choose a focus for each entry because if I let myself meander through topics as I did this morning, from one site to the next, clicking, scrolling, and connecting, all I will come up with is a mish mash of ideas.
Among the things I found this morning were websites on these topics:
• Maps of the Great Lakes. Besides geography, there are maps showing water surface temperatures, lake depths, location of lighthouses, geological surveys, shipwreck sites, and on and on and on
• Great Lakes related-organizations, including government, universities, museums, privately funded foundations, environmental groups, organizations promoting tourism, or education, and again on and on and on
• Great Lakes politics- not meaning the politics of the individual states and provinces surrounding the lakes but joint efforts
• Marine life, botanical species, and bugs
• Weather including ice coverage, lake effect snow, prevailing winds, etc
• Watershed issues
• Shipping on the lakes – both as transportation and recreation
• Air and Water quality, general information and tons of numbers
• Data, data, data on all kinds of things
My list could be much longer, but that just gives an idea of the breadth - and complexity -of topics. And that says nothing of my own observations, which I also want to include here. I want to tell you what kinds of wildlife I see – besides the gulls, geese, ducks and other birds that are always around, the other night I saw a red fox near the lakeshore. I want to record moods – both the lakes and mine. I hope I can visit some of the wonderful facilities around the lakes and write about those, too. There is SO much to write about.
Here’s a good place to start. It’s not about the Great Lakes or what I see out my window, but it is a general knowledge quiz about water. It is only ten True and False questions. I took the quiz and missed two. I suppose that’s not bad, but as a person educated in the sciences I should have gotten them all right. I hope to do better in the future.
The questions – and answers – can be found at: http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/sc3.html
Let me know how you do.