Tell us about yourself.
I have spent my life near or on the Great Lakes. Growing up along the shores of Lake Michigan’s Little Bay de Noc, I experienced the water as a sailor, diver, angler and dreamer. I enjoyed sitting on my family’s front porch gazing at the lake and letting the blue view refresh my soul. I knew from an early age my career path would involve the Great Lakes. After earning a B.S. from Northern Michigan University and a M.S. from Central Michigan University, I began a thirty-three year career as a Lake Superior fisheries biologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR).
What inspired you to write your books?
Our WDNR research vessel served as my field office. I spent many seasons on Lake Superior collecting biological data on all types of fish. I would often “talk” to fish (in my head of course since I didn’t want my colleagues to think I’d lost it). I wondered what they might say about their lives. One of many highlights I enjoyed year after year was admiring the spectacular reddish-orange fins on male lake trout during the spawning season. If children could have a similar experience, I felt they would grow to appreciate and want to take care of these beautiful fish.
During my career, I visited schools talking with children about the fishery in their backyard. Many knew little about Lake Superior and even less about life under the surface. After retiring, I created Louis and Louise. I wanted children to understand the Great Lakes ecosystem through the eyes and voices of fish.
What message do you want to leave readers with?
My books tell the Great Lakes story using science, life lessons, and fun. Words children
can relate to like neighborhood to represent habitat, developing colorful characters, and
emphasizing respect and kindness, drive the storyline. If I can make children understand
the world of Louis and Louise, I hope their new knowledge will inspire them to become
Great Lakes stewards.
What are you most proud of when it comes to your books?
The Great Lakes are the largest freshwater ecosystem on our planet. Water pollution,
habitat loss, and invasive species forever changed the ecology of the lakes. Recovery
efforts have been successful all around the lakes, however, more work is needed. If our
society wants to invest additional resources to address issues facing the Great Lakes,
we must have the will to do so. My books are meant to help children develop that will.