My name is Beth Hinchey Mallow, I work for the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes National Program office which is located in Chicago, Illinois.
I grew up in central Ohio so I was not in the Lake Erie basin. We vacationed in States where we had cousins and grandparents and none of them were in the Great Lakes basin. It was a high school friend from 4-H whose family had a boat on Lake Erie. She took my sister and myself up once when they were going out of Sandusky Bay. We had a great experience hanging out with her family. It was my first experience really on Lake Erie because I hadn’t gone there as a kid. I went tubing behind their boat, and you get separated from the boat and you are waiting there floating there waiting for the boat to pick you up, and you realize that you are pretty much floating in the sea which is Lake Erie.
I participated through the University of Notre Dame in one of there undergraduate research experiences up at their field station in Land O’ Lakes, Wisconsin so right up near the U-P. It was spending a summer up in those north woods, working in streams, working in lakes, becoming an aquatic entomologist – that whole experience really cemented in me how beautiful how aquatic ecosystems are, how important they are.
Being out by Lake Superior was really inspiring and is what made me realize that a career in aquatic ecology would be very fulfilling.