Keweenaw rocks. (Photo © and courtesy Bill Rose)
HOUGHTON -- Retired Professor Bill Rose has unveiled a new website, which is aimed at educating residents of and visitors to the Keweenaw about its geological heritage.
"I taught at MTU for 43 years, from 1970 to 2012," says Rose. "During that time I took hundreds of students outside and found many special educational places that teach about how the Earth works. This led to a lot of knowledge of outdoor places, and the Keweenaw and Isle Royale are very rich in geoheritage, a word we use to describe places that communicate between the Earth and people, places where the planet shapes our lives. The website collects information about local places that communicate and teach. And it shows you how to get there."
The new website, Keweenaw Geoheritage, communicates a digital library of Keweenaw and Isle Royale Earth Science for a broad public. In the last six years Rose worked closely with teachers and students in a $4 million National Science Foundation Earth Science educational research project called MiTEP (Michigan Teacher Excellence Program).
"A lack of public understanding of the Earth is a widespread problem -- maybe worse in the US than in many places," Rose said. "Issues like global warming, natural hazards, natural resources, and energy needs are widely misunderstood by the public and politicians. This creates unnecessary friction and destructive arguments."
Rose explains this from the perspective of a geoscientist: "It is our fault not to have more broadly explained these things. But we do live with them around us, and if we go outside and look more, understanding will grow. I see my grandchildren spending lots of time with their cellphones and TV, but I want them to go out and look at the world -- especially here, where it is so beautiful and illustrative."
The website has photographic, video, and written information on more than 200 specific locations and five main themes in its exploration of Keweenaw and Isle Royale outdoors: Lavas and the Continental Rift, Red Sediments and Filling of the Hole, The Keweenaw Thrust Fault, Massive Ice Sheets, and The Feel and Look of the Lake.
Rose has located and listed field places under each theme. The web pages have GPS locations, maps, aerial photos and lots of information for visitors. He has also designed guided field trips using both boats and ground transportation that will be debuted this summer, through MTU’s Western UP Center for Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education.*
Rose states in his vision for the Web information he created: "I am hoping that guided field trips to these sites can continue to happen; but, if not, people can find their way alone using the website. It will work using cellphones and links to QR codes and GPS."
John Gierke, Interim Chair of Michigan Tech’s Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, is grateful for this new resource: "Public outreach about our disciplines is vital and online resources are the most accessible and flexible approaches for sharing information about the local landscape. Bill Rose created a comprehensive factual resource that is readily accessible with today’s smartphone technology, and our department will host the Web information for students and the public to access in perpetuity."
Jackie Huntoon, Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate School at Michigan Tech, also expressed enthusiasm for the website.
"Many people know very little about the geosciences," Huntoon notes. "Having resources like this website that are available to the public can really go a long way in helping people to learn more about the natural and human history of their local area. One of my personal goals for the upcoming years is to visit all of the sites and I encourage others to do the same."
Click here to access the Keweenaw Geoheritage website or google Keweenaw Geoheritage.
* Click here to learn about the July 2014 Geotours (field trips).
Inset photo: Bill Rose speaks about geoparks and Keweenaw geology during a 2012 presentation in Hancock. (Photo by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)