Bob Russell Resilience Project features The Death and Life of the Great Lakes

October 11, 2017 |

The Neahtawanta Center and the Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities are co-sponsoring a community read and discussion in November as part of the Bob Russell Resilience Reading Project. The book choice is the Pulitzer Prize-nominated The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan. A group discussion will take place Nov. 6 from 7-8:30 p.m. at Horizon Bookstore on Front Street in Traverse City. Egan’s book is available at Horizon Books and Brilliant Books in downtown Traverse City.

The Death and Life of the Great Lakes is fascinating, instructive, and heartfelt—an essential text for responsible watershed citizenship,” said Stephanie Mills, a respected northern Michigan environmentalist and author of seven books including In Praise of Nature, Tough Little Beauties, and Epicurean Simplicity. “Longtime Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Dan Egan’s vastly informative book is not only a vital education, detailing the modern and geologic, ecological and political history of the Great Lakes, it’s a lively and compelling read.”

Listen to this interview with Egan on the NPR show “Living on Earth”.

The Bob Russell Resilience Reading Project was created in memory of Bob Russell, a biologist, civic leader, and environmental activist who spent 30 years educating, prodding, and provoking the Grand Traverse Region to put resilience thinking at the forefront of our infrastructure, agricultural, economic, and recreational planning. Together with Sally Van Vleck, Bob co-founded the Neahtawanta Research and Education Center (NREC) in 1987, a northern Michigan nonprofit dedicated to creating a just world based on peace, resilience, and respect for the Earth’s systems via collaboration and community engagement. Sally continues as NREC’s director.

The Groundwork Center has long been inspired by Bob Russell’s leadership on community resilience. “As a passionate group of solutions-oriented advocates, Bob was a real inspiration for us,” said Groundwork Executive Director Hans Voss. “He would dive deep into issues, study the facts—and he’d leverage that knowledge toward making change. This book on the Great Lakes has been an important education for me. It’s right up there with Jerry Dennis’ The Living Great Lakes as must-reads for anyone who cares about the future of these fabulous water bodies that define our way of life. I know Bob would have loved it.”

The Nov. 6 discussion will be led by John Flesher, a longtime journalist with the Associated Press (AP), who has been based in Traverse City for 25 years covering the Great Lakes and other environmental issues. He’s a member of AP’s recently established Global Environmental Beat Team. Learn more about the B.R. Resilience Reading Project at Mark your calendars and let’s get reading!

About the Author

Jacob Wheeler is Groundwork’s communications manager. Reach him at

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