On the wall of my parents basement is a large map that charts the progress of my father’s surveys of the sediments in the Great Lakes. It’s also a map showing where we spent our summers in the late 1960s and early 1970s because the whole family used to travel with Dad, camping in the nearest provincial park to where he was working. We watched the moon landing on a small black and white television in the back of a VW microbus on one such expedition.
Two new web resources, the NWRI Sediment Archive and the Great Lakes’ Shoreline Photos collection are another two artifacts of those summers; together they are, in a sense, the raw materials of Dad’s entire working life.
The other constant in those provincial parks those summers was the showing of Bill Mason’s film The Rise and Fall of the Great Lakes. I must have seen this film a hundred times by now, and I enjoy it every time; it’s a 16 minute journey through the history of the Great Lakes from the eyes of a man in a time-traveling canoe.