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The Great Lakes region is blessed with an abundance of water. But water quality, affordability, and aging water infrastructure are vulnerabilities that have been ignored for far too long. In this series, members of the Great Lakes News Collaborative, Michigan Public, Bridge Michigan, Great Lakes Now, The Narwhal, and Circle of Blue, explore what it might take to preserve and protect this precious resource. This independent journalism is supported by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

The Bird Connection: Change and decline in our world

We share our world with birds. And what affects them, affects us. Birds are losing their habitat, dying in large from disease, and ingesting toxic chemicals. And if we think it is just birds that are being affected by those environmental changes, that's naive. We live in these places, too.

In Michigan Public's new documentary, The Bird Connection, environment reporter Lester Graham and editor Rebecca Williams visited the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, New York to find out why. They headed to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to check on piping plovers and hear from scientists with the Sault St. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians about why we should pay attention to what birds can teach us. They stepped inside a wildlife lab to find out why lead is still a problem for birds – including bald eagles. And we meet a falcon in Kalamazoo, Michigan, who Williams was happy to find out is named…Rebecca.

You can listen to the documentary in full through the audio player above, or you can listen to it in its three distinct parts in the posts below. The posts will be publishing through May 30, so not all posts may be available at your time of viewing.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.
Rebecca Williams is senior editor in the newsroom, where she edits stories and helps guide news coverage.
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