Recently, a Michigan newspaper ran a feature on ten Michigan celebrities who are active on Twitter. I clicked through the photos and found no one I wanted to follow, which made me think about how I use and value Twitter. Then I thought about some of the real celebrities who tweet about Michigan and the Great Lakes.
I find Twitter a very useful source of information on environmental issues, which sadly are not well covered by either old-school media or their on-line manifestations. Spending 30 minutes a day, or sometimes twice a day, checking in on several key accounts keep me up to date on the science, policy, and advocacy news of the Great Lakes. Most of all I like it for the ability to connect with colleagues and others who share my work.
I also like Twitter for the real-time access it gives me to breaking news, resources on new places I am visiting, and as a communication tool during common events. Finally, several groups like The Nature Conservancy now hold scheduled twitter chats that allow for a virtual meeting and real conversation among far-flung experts.
There are of course official accounts worth following that give you the latest official announcements from government agencies, university research programs, and nonprofit organizations. But there are several “celebrities” that I follow because I appreciate their insights, shared wisdom, useful referrals, and occasional humor. Most of them I have not met in person, another unique aspect of Twitter, but I feel like I know them from shared interests, comments and re-tweets with them.
Here are my Top Ten “celebrities” (in no particular order) who are based in the Great Lakes, active on Twitter, and who have something worth sharing. I would encourage you to follow them on Twitter.
Howard Meyerson @HMeyerson is a Grand-Rapides based writer who shares lots of good stories about outdoor adventures on water and land. I appreciate his regular contributions to Michigan Audubon and his posts and writing on wildlife and conservation.
Solomon David @SolomonRDavid is an aquatic ecologist with the US Geological Survey Great Lakes Science Center with a research interest in the native fish of the Great Lakes and an affinity for alligator gar. He willingly shares his knowledge and his photography of aquatic species.
Matt Herbert @Etheostomatt has an interesting handle that contains the scientific name for the genus of darter, a common but sometimes under-appreiciated genus of fish. The name reflects his expertise and interests. He posts good research links as well as reports from his Great Lakes work with The Nature Conservancy.
Lisa Borre @Lisa_Borre writes for the National Geographic about lakes worldwide and has a particularly affinity for the Great Lakes. Her tweets help keep my perspective more global.
Kevin Joyce @Swampman419 has great insights into issues around Lake Erie and related topics of clean water, fisheries, and climate change. He is active with the Black Swamp Conservancy in northwest Ohio.
Neil Hawkins @NeilCHawkins is Chief Sustainability Office for Dow Chemical in Midland and has lots to share about green business practices, water from a local and global perspective, climate change, and theater and culture.
Brian Bienkowski @BrianBienkowski serves as an editor for Environmental Health News and has written several powerful pieces on pollution, environmental justice, and climate change. Plus he shares some of his outdoor adventures.
Kimberly Hill Knott @KimGrnPolicy is one of several Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice and provides an urban perspective on climate change, energy use, and air and water pollution.
Michelle Carr @mchlecarr of Chicago is the State Director for The Nature Conservancy in Illinois and tweets about the Great Lakes, asian carp, and natural environments in big cities.
Larry Neilsen @PawPawLarry is the village manager of Paw Paw in southwest Michigan and shares links and insights on community development and other quality of life issues related to the environment. I appreciate his small town perspective.
Of course, I have undoubtedly overlooked some worthy folks, so please accept my apologies. This is just a start of a list, so if you have others to suggest, let me know. Either through a comment here, or with a tweet to me at @Tom4TNC
Perhaps at a future time, I will share some of my favorite official Twitter accounts that relate to Michigan and the Great Lakes, but one of the best things about Twitter is that gives a personal platform for real people to share their thoughts. It reminds me of sitting around in college reading the newspaper and textbooks and having people say, “hey did you see this?” What did you observe lately?