Great Lakes Now Presents

Episode 1029: Wooden Boats, Metal Trash, Stoney Fossils

Building boats, cleaning up trash and uncovering amazing fossils around the Great Lakes.


Wooden Boats, Metal Trash, Stoney Fossils- Episode 1029

A school preserves the craft of wooden boat building, regular folks get underwater garbage out of the Great Lakes and connected rivers, and fossils discovered by two amateur paleontologists open a window onto the region’s prehistoric past.






Explore this month’s hands-on lesson plans designed to help your middle schoolers understand the Great Lakes — all at home or in the classroom. They’re aligned to standards and free to download.

Lesson Plans


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Premieres on DPTV

Tuesday, September 28, at 7:30 PM


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In the Month of September on Great Lakes Now

Click the tabs to read descriptions of each feature in Episode 1029.

A student works on the hull of a boat at the Great Lakes Boat Building School. Great Lakes Now photo.

Watch The Feature

Wooden Boat Building

SEGMENT 1 | Les Cheneaux Islands, Michigan

The Les Cheneaux Islands are a chain of 36 protected islands along the Northern shore of Lake Huron in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. For nearly a hundred years, wooden boats have been part of life in the islands, but as boat manufacturers turned to fiberglass, there were fewer craftspeople to carry on the wooden boat tradition. So the communities in the Islands came together and opened a school to teach students the art of wooden boat building. Take a look inside this unique school that is keeping the heritage of the Les Cheneaux Islands alive.


Here is other Great Lakes Now work on boats and boating:

Summer Fun Yet to Come: As times change, so do boat shows

Legacy Boats on Lake Erie: Wooden boats once ruled the waters of the Great Lakes

Great Lakes Breakdowns: There’s a thin line between affordable and not for boat tows

Boating on a Budget: Get off land and onto the Great Lakes

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

SEGMENT 2 | Detroit, Michigan; Toronto, Ontario

The Great Lakes Region is filled with beauty. But underneath the picturesque water is some unsightly trash. A few folks have come up with ways to scoop that garbage out of the water. One simple method in Michigan involves a powerful magnet.

“There’s places I’ve pulled in 60 to 70 pounds pounds in one day of just lead sinkers and fishing line, which is my No. 1 goal to get out of the water,” says Jason Vanderwal, who leads Motor City Magnet Fishers. “That’s a big hazard for the wildlife.”

In Toronto, a teenage scuba diver is shocked by all the garbage he finds on the lake bed.

Great Lakes Now takes a closer look at the impact that unseen litter has on our environment. 


Here is other Great Lakes Now work about cleanups:

Taking out the Trash: Shedd Aquarium offers a new kayak experience for visitors

Trash Fish: Marine debris becomes sculptures at Great Lakes aquariums and museums

Plastic debris is getting into the Great Lakes, our drinking water, and our food




A fossil from the Silurian period found in a Waukesha quarry. Great Lakes Now photo.

Watch The Feature

Waukesha Fossils

SEGMENT 3 | Waukesha, Wisconsin; Madison, Wisconsin

When you picture a fossil, you might think of a gigantic skeleton of a dinosaur.

But in a Waukesha, Wisconsin quarry, two amateur paleontologists made an amazing discovery. They unearthed ultra-rare fossils that had been buried for more than 400 million years opened a window onto the Great Lakes region’s prehistoric past.

How were they preserved? Scientists were stumped.

“When these were first found, it was a pretty remarkable find,” says Carrie Eaton, curator of the University of Wisconsin Geology Museum. “And at the time it was unknown what conditions led to this kind of preservation.”


Find all of Great Lakes Now’s work about historical finds here:

Fossil Finds: Fleshy quarry fossils shed light on Wisconsin’s watery past

Ancient human remains unearthed at proposed Kohler golf course site in Wisconsin

Ancient stone patterns in Straits of Mackinac add new wrinkle to Line 5 pipeline debate

Ancient Analog: What can Lake Huron’s cyanobacteria tell us about the earth’s past or about other planets?




Videos from Episode 1029
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Digital Credits
The Great Lakes Now Series is produced by Rob Green and Sandra Svoboda.