Lake Huron, ON - Michael Twiss
My name is Michael Twiss and I’m from Potsdam, New York. I’m an American who grew up in northern Ontario and became a Canadian. So my earliest memories of the Great Lakes are book series that came to our library. It was all the different lakes and so I liked to read so this was a new set of books. I started reading about all these lakes and I didn’t really know where they all were. I realized afterwards that they were actually quite close to me because I grew up on the north shore of Lake Huron in a small town called Espanola.
My first connection to the water was in ‘75 when my parents bought a new radio, a clock radio. So I got to inherit the old one, so I would set the alarm and listen in the morning. One of the first times I listened to the radio was the news of the Edmund Fitzgerald sinking and that had an impact in that it was in Lake Superior. So I went back to the book and realized where I was on the map and thought geez that’s kind of close. Later on as we grew up, we used to go down to the Spanish River which is an area of concern right now, actually in river but at the time , this was before VOCs were set up, we used to walk across the bridge carrying big stones and drop them in the water and watch the crud float to the top.
To us that was an interesting thing, apparently that was a lot of pollution from the pulp and paper mill. When I got into high school, they cleaned up the river because the mill brought out new pulping techniques and the river started to clean up which was kind of good in a way because we used to skip school and go fishing down there and catch fish out of season and no one ever bothered us. Once the river got cleaned up, the Ministry of Natural Resources started coming down and telling us to get lost so that’s actually a good thing to happen. When I got to university, I went to Trent University in Ontario. I discovered that there was a study called limnology. I didn’t know what limnology was. Then all of a sudden it was like hey, you could actually make a career studying lakes, and I decided that’s what I wanted to do so I became a Great Lakes researcher.