Spring Outside

Wisconsin Water Library > Articles by: Anne Moser

Spring Outside

As the spring thaw begins in Wisconsin, the outdoors and our watery places beckon. For both kids and adults there is a strong urge to get outside and play. This urge also inspires narratives from writers on their own experiences exploring our world: on foot, in canoes, on bicycles, in their backyards, from their tents and sometimes from conversations with strangers they meet along the way.

Along Wisconsin’s Ice Age Trail.
By Bart Smith. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2008.

Crossing the Driftless: A Canoe Trip through a Midwestern Landscape.
By Lynne Smith Diebel and illustrated by Robert Diebel. Madison, WI: Terrace Books, an imprint of the University of Wisconsin Press, 2015.

Chippewa: Biography of a Wisconsin Waterway.
By Richard D. Cornell. Madison, WI: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2017.

The Great Lakes at Ten Miles an Hour: One Cyclist’s Journey along the Shores of the Inland Seas.
By Thomas C. Shevory. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2017.

Great Lakes Journey: A New Look at America’s Freshwater Coast.
By William Ashworth. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2000.

The Mississippi: A Visual Biography.
By Quinta Scott. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2010.

Naked in the Stream: Isle Royale Stories.
By Vic Foerster. Traverse City, Mich.: Arbutus Press, 2010.  

A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Walk: One Woman’s Trek along the Shorelines of all Five Great Lakes.
By Loreen Niewenhuis. Milwaukee, WI: Crickhollow Books, 2013.

Walking Home Ground: In the Footsteps of Muir, Leopold, And Derleth.
By Robert L. Root. Madison, WI: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2017.

Anyone in Wisconsin can borrow these books. Just email askwater@aqua.wisc.edu

Diverse Literature Belongs in Our Library

Books have the power to inspire and enlighten. Diversity in books, especially in literature published for youth, is essential. All children must see themselves in the pages of the books they read, especially as we inspire and motivate the next generation of Great Lakes and water leaders. The library continues to develop our collection to reflect the diverse members and experiences in our community of readers.

By Jorge Argueta; illustrated by Felipe Ugalde; translated by Gabriela Baeza Ventura. Houston: Piñata Books, an imprint of Arte Público Press, 2017.

by Liz Garton Scanlon; illustrated by Marla Frazee. New York : Beach Lane Books, [2009]

By Janice N. Harrington, Janice N. Honnesdale, PA: Calkins Creek, 2019.

by Barbara Kerley. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 2012.

By Todd Parr. New York: Little, Brown and Company Books for Young Readers, 2010

by Linda Schwartz ; illustrated by Beverly Armstrong. Santa Barbara, Calif. : Learning Works, c1990.

By Jacqueline Briggs Martin; illustrated by Eric-Shabazz Larkin. Bellevue, WA: Readers to Eaters, 2013.

By Sue Erickson; Dennis Soulier; Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission. Odanah, WI : Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission, [2005?]

By Dylan Jennings; illustrated by Welsey Ballinger. Second edition. Odanah, WI: Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission, 2017.

By Dylan Jennings; illustrated by Welsey Ballinger.  Odanah, WI: Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission, 2016.

By Joshua M. Whitebird, Joshua M.; illustrated by Edward Benton-Banai. Odanah, WI : Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, 2018.

By Michael J. Caduto. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Pub., 1997

By Linda Trice; illustrated by Hazel Mitchell. Watertown, MA : Charlesbridge, 2016.

By Stuart A Kallen. San Diego, Calif.: Kidhaven Press, 2004.

By Therese DeAngelis. Mankato, Minn.: Capstone, ©2004.

By Miranda Paul; illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon. Minneapolis: Millbrook Press, 2015.

By Rochelle Strauss; illustrated by Rosemary Woods. Toronto: Kids Can Press, ©2007.

By Kate Messner; illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2017.

By Edward Mille. New York: Holiday House, [2014]

By Lynne Cherry. San Diego: Harcourt Inc., [2002]

By Gordon Regguinti; Dale Kakkak; Michael Dorris.  Minneapolis : Lerner Publications, 1992.

By Jeanette Davis; illustrated by Philbert Washington. Atlanta, GA.: Mynd Matters Publishing, 2019.

By Carol Ann Trembath. Evanston, IL: Lakeside Publishing, 2017.

Cloquet, Minnesota : Fond du Lac Head Start, [2014]

By Emmanuel Mbogo. Dar es Salaam: Vision Strategic Impact Limited, 2015.

By Joanne Robertson. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Second Story Press, 2017.

By Carol Ann Trembath. Evanston, IL: Lakeside Publishing, 2016.

By Carole Lindstrom; illustrated by Michaela Goade. New York, NY : Roaring Brook Press, 2020.

By Carmen Bogan; illustrated by Floyd Cooper. San Francisco, CA: Yosemite Conservancy, Yosemite National Park, 2017.

Anyone in Wisconsin can borrow these books. Just email askwater@aqua.wisc.edu.

Indigenous Peoples Day 2020

Today we celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day!

First, we take this day to acknowledge the Indigenous people of Wisconsin, the past, current, and future stewards of this land we stand on. The Wisconsin Water Library at the University of Wisconsin–Madison occupies ancestral Ho-Chunk land, a place their nation has called Teejop (day-JOPE) since time immemorial. The place we now call Wisconsin is the ancestral land of many Native nations who call this place home, and we are honored to be a place of stories, memory, and living tradition for all.

Today, Wisconsin is home to twelve Native nations and indigenous people are an inextricable part of Wisconsin’s past and present, and yet, they are missing from our history and from the way we care for our earth. Wisconsin Sea Grant and the library acknowledge the crucial work we must do so that all approaches to water science and environmental stweardship are incorporated.

The Wisconsin Water Library is taking deliberate steps to expand its holdings of materials related to traditional knowledge and water. We acknowledge our collection is incomplete so please email Anne Moser with your suggestions (akmoser@aqua.wisc.edu).

Some of our favorites are:

Map of Wisconsin First Nations — Treaty lands in 1800 and present-day tribal lands. This map is an adaptation of the Native Nations Map from The Ways.
Ceded territories by GLIFWC
Ceded Territories, Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission

To learn more about American Indians in Wisconsin, check out https://wisconsinfirstnations.org/

Environmental Justice + #BlackLivesMatter

By Anne Moser and Laura Killingsworth

What is environmental justice?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines environmental justice as the “fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies. Fair treatment means no group of people should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, governmental and commercial operations or policies.”

How does it relate to social justice?

In the United States, structural racism is inextricably linked to environmental racism. A disproportionate burden of environmental harm falls on BIPOC (black, Indigenous, and people of color) communities and on working class neighborhoods.Harmful infrastructure such as landfills, poor drinking water systems and lack of safe play spaces and harmful practices including a lack of investment in communities, leads to poorer physical and mental health. As our society continues to grapple with the very real effects of climate change, these negative consequences will continue to displace marginalized communities at an even more severe level.

Without environmental justice, can we have full social justice?

There is no environmental justice without full social justice, and there is no full social justice without environmental justice. Our core values as librarians surround access to information, and how various societal issues prevent that from happening. We have a duty to dismantle these systemic barriers, meaning that every societal issue is a library issue as well, and something we should be addressing. There is much work to do in terms of advancing social justice and anti-racist initiatives for the black members of our community, and to affirm that black lives DO matter.  Further, these conversations belong at the center of any conversation surrounding environmental justice.

Reading List

We have created this reading list as a means of providing information and facilitating critical thinking surrounding these topics. This list is meant to be an introduction, and is by no means exhaustive. If you have resources or readings to add regarding environmental justice and social justice, please send an email to Anne Moser akmoser@aqua.wisc.edu.

Books and articles

As Long as the Grass Grows: the Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, from Colonization to… Standing Rock by Dina Gilio-Whitaker.

Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors by Carolyn Finney

Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future by Mary Robinson.

Confronting Environmental Racism: Voices from the Grassroots by Robert Doyle Bullard.

Creating a Climate for Change: Communicating Climate Change and Facilitating Social Change edited by Susanne C Moser and Lisa Dilling.

Defending Mother Earth: Native American Perspectives on Environmental Justice by Jace Weaver.

Diamond: a Struggle for Environmental Justice in Louisiana’s Chemical Corridor by Steve Lerner.

Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class and Environmental Quality by Robert D Bullard.

Cleere, Rickie, “Environmental Racism and the Movement for Black Lives: Grassroots Power in the 21st Century” (2016). Pomona
Senior Theses. http://scholarship.claremont.edu/pomona_theses/140

Landrigan, P. J., Rauh, V. A., & Galvez, M. P. (2010). Environmental justice and the health of children. The Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine, New York77(2), 178–187.

From the Ground up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of the Environmental Justice Movement by Luke W Cole and Sheila R Foster.

Garbage Wars: the Struggle for Environmental Justice in Chicago by David Naguib Pellow.

The Human Right to Water: Legal and Policy Dimensions by Salman M A Salman.

Justice and Natural Resources: Concepts, Strategies, and Applications edited by Kathryn M Mutz; Gary C Bryner; Douglas S Kenney.

Polluted Promises: Environmental Racism and the Search for Justice in a Southern Town by Melissa Checker.

The Quest for Environmental Justice: Human Rights and the Politics of Pollution by Robert D Bullard.

Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor by Rob Nixon.

Soil Not Oil: Environmental Justice in a Time of Climate Crisis by Vandana Shiva.

There’s Something in the Water: Environmental Racism in Indigenous and Black Communities by Ingrid Waldron.

The Warmth of Many Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson

What Is Critical Environmental Justice? by David Naguib Pellow.

Why Race and Class Matter to the Environmental Movement, Grist

Readings on the Flint Water Crisis

A Case Study of Environmental Injustice: The Failure in Flint by Carla Campbell, Rachael Greenberg, Deepa Mankikar, and Ronald D. RossInt J Environ Res Public Health. 2016 Oct; 13(10): 951.
oi: 10.3390/ijerph13100951

Flint Fights Back: Environmental Justice and Democracy in the Flint Water Crisis by Benjamin J. Pauli.

Iowa State University Libraries Libguide on Flint Water Crisis

The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy by Anne (Anna Leigh) Clark.

What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City by Mona Hanna-Attisha.

Books for Youth

It’s Our World, Too! Stories of Young People Who Are Making a Difference by By Phillip Hoose.

A River Ran Wild: an Environmental History by Lynne Cherry

Read a previous post from our blog about young activists raising their voices about climate change.

Curated Book Lists

New York Times June 5, 2020
Read Up on the Links Between Racism and the Environment

Other resources

US EPA Environmental Justice

Resources from the Student Environmental Resource Center at UC Berkeley.

The American Environmental Justice Movement from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (peer-reviewed)

Bowling Green State University Libraries Libguide on Environmental Justice



1 Pellow, D. (2016). TOWARD A CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE STUDIES: Black Lives Matter as an Environmental Justice Challenge. Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race, 13(2), 221-236. doi:10.1017/S1742058X1600014X

Goodbye to a GREAT collaborator and friend!

During this time of social distancing, I am sad to be writing at home to say goodbye to a friend and collaborator I have had the honor of working with over the past several years.  For a long time, as an outreach librarian, I wanted to teach kiddos about underwater exploration but had no idea how to approach it. I sought help from Maritime Archaeology program at the Wisconsin Historical Society and they paired me with an intern, Tori Kiefer. Tori and I have worked closely over the years to expand what Wisconsin Sea Grant and the library can offer in shipwreck education. She brought her expertise to me and we worked together to produce an informal education program that kids and adults have loved. I shall forever remember how cool the Silver Lake is, the only double centerboard scow schooner shipwreck found in the Great Lakes.  I will probably never don a wet suit and dive for shipwrecks, I owe my passion for teaching the subject to my friend.

I wish her well as she moves on to her next adventure. Tori: you will be missed!!

The WWLibrary and COVID-19

Like so many institutions around the world, the Wisconsin Water Library has temporarily closed its doors today, March 16, 2020 until the UW Madison opens again (after spring break and the alternative instruction period), tentatively scheduled for April 10. Though the physical space is closed, library staff are here in the virtual space to help with your library or research needs.

Library resources include:
For faculty, staff, and students section of the library website
Water Resource Guide – updated March 16, 2020
Askwater reference service – library staff can be reached via email for all reference questions and research inquiries that may arise during this time.
Follow us on social media: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Take good care.

Anne and Laura

Photo by Steve Reichel

Fifty-One Students (and Five Brave Educators) Go on a Field Trip

Special blog post by Perry Smith and Susan Jurries
Arbor Vitae-Woodruff Elementary
Woodruff, Wisconsin
May 3, 2019

On Thursday, April 25, 2019 fifty-one fourth graders, four teachers, and one paraprofessional educator boarded the bus at 8:15 AM for the 160 mile trip to Superior, WI and Duluth, MN from our school in Woodruff, Wisconsin. We were followed by a caravan of fifteen parents and guardians, all for the purpose of experiencing the twin ports on Lake Superior. This adventure is an integral part of our Learning Expedition entitled What’s so Great About the Great Lakes? This two month, in-depth study is a multidisciplinary exploration of the geography, history, ecology and economic impact of the Great Lakes.

Our first stop was The University of Wisconsin, Superior, where the students took part in a campus tour, and got a small taste of what college is all about. Many AV-W alumni attend UW Superior, and this stop allowed our students to begin to realize some of the educational options they will have in the future.


Next on the agenda was a visit to the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center, located in Duluth right next to the world famous Aerial Lift Bridge. Our timing was impeccable, as the 1,004 foot Laker the Edwin H. Gott was just pulling into the Duluth Ship Canal. The bridge raised, the horns sounded, and the students were thrilled to witness this behemoth of the lakes up close and personal! They were also amazed to witness the descent of the bridge, and experience the low clearance the pedestrian walkway underneath the bridge offers.

Next to enter the Ship Canal was the Saltie called the Federal Barents. The scale of this ship, while less impressive than the Gott, illustrated first hand to the students the limitations that the Welland Canal imposes on international shipping in the Great Lakes. Also, it was fascinating to hear the students wondering about the ballast water, and making connections to their learning about invasive species.

After the excitement of the Lift Bridge and Ship Canal, we next explored the Maritime Visitor Center. We experienced an excellent program about the Soo Locks, and were disappointed that our Edmund Fitzgerald program was cancelled, due to a family emergency for one of the Visitor Center rangers. We explored the exhibits and learned more about the history of shipping, the economic impact of the lakes, and the role of the Army Corps of Engineers in maintaining access to the ports. We also enjoyed the scavenger hunt provided by the rangers.

We boarded the bus for our next stop, the Hartley Nature Center. We hiked to the top of Rock Knob, which gave us a great view of Lake Superior and the cities of Duluth and Superior. We also were able to experience some of the geology of the Canadian Shield first hand.

It was time to travel to our home for the night, The Great Lakes Aquarium. We explored the exhibits, experienced the touch pools, and one of the huge highlights, were able to get acquainted with the six different types of sturgeon in the sturgeon touch pool.

Our students were also able to continue their invasive species research, watch the otters play, and learn more about the formation geologic history of the Great Lakes.

After a restful (!) night, we were up early to reflect on our learning from the day before, as well as do a bit of shopping in the aquarium gift shop.

We were then on our way to the North Shore Scenic Railroad. We toured the exhibits, learned about the unique immigration history of Duluth, and then boarded train for a two hour ride up through Duluth, getting a very unique vantage point of Lake Superior.

Finally, our last stop was at Amnicon Falls State Park, where we took a very brief hike, and enjoyed our last meal together on the trip.

The bus ride back home was very quiet. The students learned and experienced so much! Thank you, Sea Grant and The Center for Great Lakes Literacy for helping to make this trip possible.


In Their Own Words:

Prediction: Kendra: “I believe I am going to see a lot of fish. I also believe I am going to lots of fun with my friends. I am really excited because this is my first time going to Duluth. I am really excited to see new things, and go the aquarium. But when we get there I am going to show Integrity and do the right thing.”

UW Superior: Lily: “One career I may be interested in would be teaching. I am interested in teaching because I am comfortable talking in front of people. I also enjoy working with little kids. The Habit of Scholarship I feel would be most important in college would be Grit. I use Grit at AV-W working hard to finish challenging work.”

Lake Superior Maritime Visitors Center: Miranda: “How did people build such amazing machinery, back in the olden days? Some of the amazing machinery was the huge Laker that 4th grade saw, and the Lift bridge that the 4th grade saw.”

Great Lakes Aquarium: Maya: “I will never forget the aquarium, like the waterfall, the animals and sleeping. It was fun! It did not even look close to what I thought, it was even better! I learned that Bob the Python adjusts to the heat of your body temp.” Allison: “I learned that most underwater animals don’t have eyelids.”

North Shore Scenic Railroad: Nahla: I loved this train excursion! To start with, this was my first train ride. Also, at the last car of the train had no walls, so it was open and kind of scary. Last but not least, I’m glad I went on the train ride.” Mason: “I will never forget the train museum. One train in there was my favorite. It was a big plow train, and I loved playing in it pretending I was driving. Even some friends joined in.”

All photos unless otherwise noted by Susan Jurries and Perry Smith

Cureo joins the Advisory Services Team

Rosalind Cuneo joined the UW Sea Grant Institute as a graduate assistant in September, and is working with Anne Moser and Kathy Kline on several Water Library and education projects. Rosalind is a master’s student in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, and her interdisciplinary research focuses on climate change communication. Rosalind recently returned from Alaska, where she was studying perceptions and effects of climate change on the Kenai Peninsula, and is eager to turn her attention to water resources in the Great Lakes.

Rosalind’s projects include an exciting opportunity to bring a Lake Sturgeon-centered art exhibit to multiple venues in Wisconsin. The exhibit, called “Black Gold” features art from a variety of artists. Rosalind and Anne are organizing gallery spaces, as well as educational satellite events for kids and adults, to bring attention to the Lake Sturgeon’s conservation story. Additionally, Rosalind is collecting and organizing materials for curriculum packs such as the aquatic invasive species-focused “Attack Pack” to be sent out across the Great Lakes region.

Marine and Freshwater Librarians to Visit Madison Next Week

May 9, 2017

By Marie Zhuikov

A unique group of librarians is holding its first conference in the Great Lakes region next week. They are librarians who specialize in marine and freshwater science topics and who belong to a regional branch of the International Association of Aquatic and Marine Science Libraries and Information Centers. Their conference, “Great Lakes, Great Libraries,” is being held in Madison, May 16-19.

“This is the first time in 27 years that we’ve had our regional annual conference in a freshwater state,” said Anne Moser, senior special librarian with the Wisconsin Water Library. She is organizing the conference along with Alisun DeKock, another Great Lakes librarian from the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.

The regional group, called SAIL, is comprised of libraries on the East Coast and in Great Lakes communities of the U.S. and Canada, along with several foreign countries like Bermuda and Panama. Approximately 25 librarians will be at the Pyle Center to hear presentations by their membership on innovative library practices as well as to learn about the science of local watersheds. SAIL members will present recent projects related to digital asset management, managing big data, and ways to communicate and translate scientific information.

Read more.

Clean Water and Tribal Rights

By Sigrid Peterson

The ongoing resistance and civil disobedience of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their allies in opposition to the $3.8B Dakota Access Pipeline reminds us of multiple longstanding historical, cultural, economic and political debates. These debates sit at the intersection of multiple issues: Native American land rights, the right to clean water, extraction industry, fossil fuels, grassroots organizing, everyday acts of resistance, the cultural and political-economic tension between land tenure and land improvements, spiritual relationships to Mother Earth among many others.

The library has an ongoing book display of a small subset of the resources in our collection that help us think through this complex, urgent and intertwined array of issues. Here is a sampling:

All Our Relations: Native Struggles for Land and Life The Human Right to Water: legal and policy dimensions
Defending mother earth: Native American perspectives on environmental justice Water Consciousness: how we all have to change to protect our most critical resource


To learn more, send a message to askwater [at] aqua.wisc.edu. We can send you a full list of our resources.