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May 16, 2018

Healthy fish, healthy state

May 16, 2018

I was enjoying a beautiful day when my phone rang. “Hey, can you call your sister and ask her what I should do? I hooked myself in the stomach.” My sister is a doctor. The caller was fishing in a boat and, while pulling in a two-pound largemouth bass, managed to lodge the hook, with the flapping fish still attached, into his stomach. By the time he called me, he had at least gotten the fish off, but he was still hooked. His fishing friend, other than wishing he had filmed it for Youtube, wasn’t much help.

When he told me how big it was and how deeply it was in, I explained that he should get off the lake and head to an urgent care as that would be better than phone instructions from my sister. His answer? “I don’t want to get off the lake – the fish are biting.” It was at that point I sighed and told him I could no longer help him. Eventually, he ended up talking to a doctor friend who understood the angler mentality and suggested he use a beer to sterilize it and then yank it out. (He was fine.)

I’ve also had a nephew hook his uncle and an uncle hook his grandfather. If the fish were biting, my guess is they didn’t stop either. I’ll admit I don’t get it, but I’m not a fishing enthusiast.

But here in Michigan, I know that thousands of people probably understand this mindset. Surrounded by the Great Lakes and filled with countless inland lakes, streams and rivers, Michigan boasts a multimillion-dollar recreational fishing industry.

That industry requires a lot of care to make sure it remains healthy. Of course, Spartans are part of that care. Our scientific knowledge, commitment to Michigan and dedication to partnering with the DNR is key in making sure there are healthy populations of steelhead and other species.

Check out the video in the MSUTODAY FEATURE: Keeping Michigan steelhead healthy, to learn more from a Spartan alumnus who works for the DNR.

Keeping the environment healthy is something many Spartans have dedicated their lives and careers to. There are determined researchers and students working hard every day studying water, air, plants, animals and more to make our tomorrows and our planet healthier. Some Spartans even blend their passions to bring environmental stewardship into other careers.  

Recent graduate Bethany Kogut didn’t follow the usual path for an elementary education major at MSU. Along with going into schools and classrooms, her journey took her into greenhouses, farms — and the life of a successful entrepreneur. Her plan is to take what she learned about farming and food systems into her teaching career, using them to teach science, math and more while having students create gardens. Watch her short video in the STUDENT VIEW: Educating the future, to learn more about this resourceful Spartan.

Tom Voice, associate dean for administrative affairs and a professor of civil and environmental engineering, also puts his knowledge and research into service while sitting on the board of directors of Consumer Reports, which provides independent analysis of products to consumers. He feels it’s his obligation to use his skills to benefit society, even if it’s in a small way. Read his FACULTY VOICE: Professional service alternatives, to learn more about why he serves and how sometimes it means speeding around a vehicle test track or examining pasta sauces.

Tasting pasta sauces is something I could get hooked on. Sitting in a boat with a hook in my stomach? Not so much. Oh, I truly get the beauty of fishing, and I’m happy to sit in a boat and relax on a summer day – I’m just not obsessed with the sport like certain other people I know. To each his own, right? I actually love that Michigan is an angler’s paradise. I also love that Spartans are making sure to protect and care for our natural resources. There’s no hidden catch – it’s simply part of who we are and what we do. Spartans Will.

Lisa Mulcrone
Editor, MSUToday
twitter bird@LMulcrone

Photo by Derrick L. Turner


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