CMU Honors Students – Good neighbors on Beaver Island!

CMU Honors Photography students.

CMU Honors Photography students with their professor, Al Wildey.

Each spring the Central Michign University Honors students grace Beaver Island with their enthusiasm and their “I can do it!” attitude. The Honors Service Learning students do all kinds of projects around the Island to get the place all spruced up for the busy season ahead. They rake, they wash windows, they shine up the museums and the Community Center and assist a number of seniors with spring chores.

The Honors Photography students, under the direction of their professor Al Wildey, canvassed the Island taking photos of everyone at their jobs, at play, and sometimes just walking down the street. They then used the individual portraits to create a digital photographic composite mosaic.

One hundred portraits were used and over 400 photos distributed throughout the mosaic, which created a universal “face of Beaver Island.” The impressive project completed by the 13 students in the Honors Beaver Island Environmental Portrait course is on display at the Community Center.

CMU has planned a whole summer of wonderful events – field trips, lectures, an open house at the IGLR facility- all to help celebrate their 50th year on Beaver Island!

We’re all sure glad they are here. Talk about wonderful neighbors!

CMU’s new unmanned helicopter!

Central Michigan University now has a new scientific tool, an unmanned helicopter that is equipped with a high tech camera which will assist in the detection of invasive species and allow for advanced research of wetlands.

New UAV for CMU.

Dr. Benjamin Heumann with CMU’s new unmanned helicopter.

Benjamin W. Heumann, Ph.D,  Director of CMU’s Graphic Information Science center and a member of CMU’s Institute for Great Lakes Research, will be in charge of the  unmanned aerial vehicle  (UAV) program and serve as the pilot in command.

The UAV and hyperspectral camera will allow for scientific research in tracking invasives and monitoring ecosystem health. It also allows them to collect the imagery at a much lower altitude then manned aircraft, so they can get a much higher resolutions in images, even receiving clear images of individual leaves.

The first project utilizing the UAV will take place this summer at the Wilderness State Park where they will map Pitcher’s thistle, a rare and threatened plant that only grows on the sand dunes of the Great Lakes and primarily on Lake Michigan (the Pitcher’s thistle also grows on Beaver Island).

Don Uzarski, Ph. D, Director of CMU’s Biological Station on Beaver Island and the Director of CMU’s Institute for Great Lakes Research is enthused over  use of the UAV technology. “We will use the helicopter in the archipelago in the future,” he said, “and also just purchased about $20K in imagery just for the (Beaver) archipelago.”

Heumann says the helicopter will probably be used on Beaver Island in the summer of 2015.

For more on this new scientific tool, see the upcoming issue of NorthernIslander.

New Research Vessel Arrives on Beaver Island

The R/V Chippewa enters Paradise Bay for the first time.

The R/V Chippewa enters Paradise Bay for the first time.

It was a perfect day on Lake Michigan for the maiden voyage of the R/V Chippewa, the new research vessel for CMU’s Institute for Great Lakes Research. The vessel entered Paradise Bay late in the afternoon on June 19.

The 32 ½ foot boat was built by Silver Ships in Mobile, AL. The vessel will allow scientists to do research in both shallow and deep water. She will be berthed at the IGLR facility in the old Coast Guard boat house on Beaver Island.

An open house at the IGLR facility will be held on July 16 during Museum Week festivities. Be sure to stop by and get a look at this impressive new tool for scientific research.

For more about the Chippewa, see the July issue of NorthernIslander.

CMU’s New Research Vessel

CMU's new research vessel

CMU’s new research vessel.

– By Elaine West –

Dr. Donald Uzarski sent in this photo of the new research vessel for CMU’s Institute for Great Lakes Research. It was built by Silver Ships in Mobile, AL.

Both Dr. Uzarski and Capt. Mike Green were there for the vessel’s sea trials in late Jan.  CMU colors and bottom paint still have to be added.

The vessel will remain in Alabama for the rest of the winter and be arriving in Paradise Bay in April or May and housed at CMU’s boat house facility on the harbor. CMU plans to offer short excursions on the boat during their Open House event in July (during Museum Week).

And speaking of events happening this summer: the February issue of NorthernIslander is packed with all kinds of information on that subject so summer residents and visitors can plan to take part in all the fun  activities on the Island – from an expanded Baroque on Beaver Music Festival to a 5th year anniversary celebration week for the Community Center.

Stars & Stripes Fly Over Harbor Again

Flag Pole over the old Coast Guard Station on Beaver Island, MI.

The crew worked for hours on the project.

The Flying Wallendas televised June 15 tightrope walk across Niagara Falls was not as entertaining nor as meaningful as the “high wire”
work of a crew of Islanders on June 16.  

They gathered early in the morning in hopes the wind would be calm for their planned work to reset the old Coast Guard flag pole on Whiskey Point, which has stood as a sentinel on the harbor for more years than any one can remember.

The crew was assembled from CMU, the township and Wojan Excavating.  John Works Jr., Darrell Butler Jr., Jim Wojan, Steve Crandall, Bruce Cull, Brad Coffell and Chris Smith coordinated two pieces of machinery and maneuvered a huge number of ropes which were outfitted to lift the pole into its suspended position. Some had to don safety harnesses for the “hire wire” work required on the structure.

The heavy duty cap, which holds the flagpole and a 16 foot extension in place, had to be  remanufactured. And the old wrought iron weathervane was given a new lease on life when Works replaced the old dry and splintered wood with a re-crafted model made from Beaver Island cedar.

For the whole story, see the July issue of NorthernIslander.

Old Coast Guard Boat House has new mission

The old Coast Guard Boat House on Beaver Island’s Paradise Bay has a whole new Great Lakes mission.

Dr. Donald Uzarski conducts a tour of the new facility.

Dr. Donald Uzarski, Director of CMU’s Biological Station and the Director of the CMU Institute for Great Lakes Research, is enthusiastic about the work accomplished this winter which turned the old structure into a state of the art experimental mesocosm facility.

Each of the twelve 250-gallon tanks inside represents a small experimental aquatic ecosystem that will be filled with water from Lake Michigan. Scientists will be able to study a seemingly endless variety of aquatic life and also be able to replicate identical conditions in two or three other mesocosms, leading to sound scientific data.  The complete story and a tour of the facility with Dr. Uzarski appears in the May issue of NorthernIslander.