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New Team: What’s good about 2020?

New Team: What’s good about 2020?
December 29, 2020 Colleen O'Donnell

This is part of a series in which the Great Lakes Now staff looks back on 2020.


Besides the fact it’s almost over… one great thing about 2020 for me was joining the Great Lakes Now team.

The pandemic affected us all in many ways, and it often took everything we could muster deep inside to push through. Yet for those of us fortunate enough to be here to tell the tale, it tested our mettle in every way.

In some cases, 2020 brought opportunities to rise to challenges, and accept new roles and responsibilities. Many were thrust upon us without time or option to say no, or even to negotiate – my heart goes out to essential workers and working parents who had to educate kids at home AND do their own jobs. For me, I couldn’t say no to this – but mostly because I wanted to say yes.

I was green with envy of my teammates who worked on Great Lakes Now, because it is such an important project at such a key moment in time. Our Great Lakes are a global jewel, and the pride and joy of our region. They face many threats, and they are our life blood – they also bring us fantastic opportunities to learn and to just get out and enjoy life.

So I was thrilled and terrified when I was asked to take on social media support for Great Lakes Now, just as my plate of new tasks was expanding exponentially when the pandemic first hit this past spring. Because our community’s need for lifesaving information and alternate ways to educate families was never greater in my lifetime, and our organization was stepping up in myriad ways to help provide those crucial services, my workload was already unmanageable – but I could not say no to this moment.

I jumped in with both feet, braced for the cold splash, but found the waters were warm. We launched our Facebook watch parties this summer, which we now do monthly during every show premiere, along with other special edition watch parties, such as our series with Belle Isle Aquarium and WDET.

It’s been amazing to see all the participation in our watch parties – and to hear directly from you about what you love, what you think about what we’ve been doing – and what you want to see more of. Keep it coming!

Here’s to a 2021 that’s better for everyone – see you there!


Read 2019’s staff lookbacks:

Superior Crossing: Sailing across the biggest, deepest and coldest Great Lake

An Open Letter: I have been seeing lake sturgeon and plan to keep it up in 2020

4 out of 5: I’ll get you next time, Lake Ontario

The Great Lakes in 2019: Senior Correspondent Gary Wilson’s look back at the headlines

Great Lakes Now: Our 2019 look back and our 2020 look ahead

Or read some real news on Great Lakes Now:

Pipelines and Plastic Bottles: Michigan advocate focuses on Line 5 and Nestle bottled water issue

PFAS chemicals are ubiquitous. A Pitt scientist is working to protect you from thousands of types at once.

Field Tiles: Continued use and improvement of drainage systems pose problems for Lake Erie

Public Concern: Climate change, runoff and chemicals at the forefront of people’s worries about the Great Lakes

Family-owned fishing businesses displaced by waterfront developments on Great Lakes


Featured image: Colleen O’Donnell on Frankenmuth boat (Photo courtesy of Colleen O’Donnell)

1 Comment

  1. Dan Alpert 7 months ago

    Colleen, congratulations on your new role with the Great Lakes Now team. Is this in addition to all your other fine social media work for DPTV?

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