Follow the Water

Graphic text for Following the Water programs. The letter A is shaped like the State of Michigan with the Great Lakes in blue around it.
Follow the Water Programs

Following the Water

This fall, the Kalamazoo Valley Museum is offering a series of water-related programs to celebrate Michigan's Great Lakes and the use of and reliance on our waterways. As the Museum continues "Following the Water," look for a variety of digital offerings sure to provide something for everyone. Follow the Museum on social media, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

  • Joe Reilly sitting cross legged playing a guitar on a grassy hillside
    Sing Along with Joe Reilly

    Sing along with Joe Reilly, environmental musician, as he shares songs celebrating the Earth and Michigan's water resources. Joe's songs highlight the animals that live in our waters, our role as protectors of the Earth, and the water that identifies Michigan as the Great Lakes State.


    Joe Reilly: Kalamazoo and Michigan Song on YouTube


    Joe Reilly: The Rainy Day Song and Move Like Water on YouTube


    Joe Reilly: Deep Sea, Open Sea and Miigwech on YouTube


    Joe Reilly: Human Nature and Decompose on YouTube


    Joe Reilly: Amphibians, Oh Mosquito, and The Animal Song on YouTube


    Joe Reilly: Amphibians, Oh Mosquito, and The Animal Song on YouTube

  • Dozens of plants in a large hydroponic bed.
    Ben Bylsma, Production Manager, Food Innovation Center Gardening with Water and Fish

    Online TBD

    Join Production Manager Ben Bylsma on an informative tour of aquaponic and hydroponic growing systems at the Food Innovation Center. Learn about the Deep Water Culture hydroponic system that grows lettuce on rafts that sit in water where the roots can absorb the nutrients they need. Also discover the Nutrient Film Technique, which is another hydroponic system that uses shallow streams of water that recirculates through channels while feeding the roots. The aquaponic system includes raising fish and using their waste as fertilizer for the hydroponic systems.

    The produce grown is part of Kalamazoo Valley Community College's Food Innovation Center Food Hub program. The Food Hub at ValleyHUB is a licensed food processing facility, equipped for minimal processing of farm-fresh produce as well as aggregation of other farm products.

  • Native American woman with long hair wearing bright colored clothes.
    Beatrice Menase Kwe Jackson, Water Walker Native American Connections to the Water

    Online TBD

    When the Museum opens, we will celebrate with a special digital program on our YouTube channel and website by Anishinaabe water walker Beatrice Menase Kwe Jackson. She is a Grandmother of the Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge and serves to share the traditional teachings from past generations. Beatrice Jackson has walked all of the Great Lakes except Lake Erie and is a veteran of Standing Rock.

    Josephine Mandamin began the water walk movement in 2003 to bring awareness to the pollution that was occurring in the lakes and rivers. Over the years, Anishinaabe have walked each of the Great Lakes and many of the rivers to raise awareness for the water and to celebrate the importance of the water in all of our lives.

    Jackson holds a BA in Social Work from Michigan State University and a BS in Education from Ferris State. She has been a Montessori Teacher, a producer and director of several movies, and a member of the Snow Bird Singers hand drum group and the Women of Traditions Hand Drum Group. She is a Sun Dancer, a storyteller, a carrier of the water prayer, and a principal keeper of the Anishinaabe wisdom and traditions.

    Discover maritime history and the ecology of dams during these presentations from experts.


  • Pamela Cameron, Author Sport, Ship Dog of the Great Lakes

    October 18, 1:30 premiere on YouTube

    Kalamazoo resident Pamela Cameron first heard about Sport, a Newfoundland Retriever, when she was reading about the lighthouses of Michigan. Sport was rescued by the United States Lighthouse Service Tender the Hyacinth in 1914 and then lived on the ship for the next twelve years as it delivered supplies to all of the lighthouses on Lake Michigan. Sport was a valued companion to the crew and a recognizable mascot of the lake, making friends in every port.

    Cameron will share the process of her research using the National Archives and maritime history collections in the Great Lakes area. The program will show how historic pictorial resources were used to create the illustrations for the story. The backstory of the crew and their lives onboard the ship will be discussed.

    Sport, Ship Dog of the Great Lakes has won the Historical Society of Michigan’s 2019 State History Award for Children’s/Youth Book, the 2019 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award, and the Library of Michigan’s 2020 Notable Book awards. To learn more go to www.sportshipdog.com

  • Historic post card from 1901 of the dam on Lovers Lane in Portage, Michigan.
    Matt Diana, DNR Fisheries Biologist The Ecology of Dams

    November 15, 1:30 premiere on YouTube

    Matt Diana, DNR Fisheries Biologist, will talk about how dams change the ecology of a river, including issues and opportunities for restoration through dam operation, modification, and potential removal, as well as what happens when dams need repair or fail. We will explore how fish and other aquatic organisms, as well as river processes, relate to dams and the complexity involved in managing aging infrastructure. Matt will draw on DNR experience with multiple projects throughout the Kalamazoo and other local watersheds and will answer questions regarding local projects.

  • Graphic text that says Halloween Museum Mayhem
    Great Lakes Haunts and Shipwrecks

    October 31, 1 – 3 p.m. premiere on YouTube

    Explore "Great Lakes Haunts and Shipwrecks" through a series of videos that cover water sounding, treasure hunting, sunken ships of the Great Lakes, and a reading of the book Sport, Ship Dog of the Great Lakes by author Pamela Cameron. A limited number of “trick-or-treat” treasure bag,s filled with crafts, scavenger hunts, games, and science experiments that can be done at home related to the Great Lakes and treasure hunting will be available. Register for curbside pickup of your “trick-or-treat” bag, $5 each, while supplies last.