The Great Lakes are one of the great natural wonders of the world but surprisingly often are not included on such lists. They and their connecting channels and portages have been central in the settlement history and cultural geography of this region. While native Americans used the lakes extensively, we begin with the explorations and use of these connections by the French as part of its "crescent" of settlement in which Illinois Country had a significant role. Norm Moline will identify the many links within the Great Lakes watershed and with adjoining watersheds, elaborate on their historical significance for the nation and for our region, and focus on some of the current environmental and political issues which impact Illinois and other states bordering these lakes.
same topics as professional interest, transportation, travel, local community action, sports, politics
cultural geography, historical geography of the United States, land resources management and planning, and East Asia
Why did you become interested in your topic?
Spending the first eleven years of my life on the south side of Chicago about two miles from Lake Michigan and then returning to Hyde Park for graduate study at the University of Chicago, I have had a fascination about the Great Lakes my whole life. For family vacations both with my parents and then with my wife and our children, the Great Lakes often have been a focal area, with more recent interests in exploring and studying the different connections linking the lakes themselves and with the larger whole St. Lawrence River watershed and some of the current environmental issues. The more I study the Lakes I realize their greatness and uniqueness in the world and their importance both in our historical development and in our current times and believe more people in this region should increase their appreciation of them.
What do you love about the place you call "home"?
We have (a) some of the world's finest water and land resources, (b) a great central location which has given us a rich settlement history and allows great access to other regions, and (c) many people with "down to earth" attitudes and styles.