ECOsystems: A Member Magazine

The 2022 Edition: Working Wonders With Water

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In a sea of flooding, ever-growing oases rise

Friends of the Rouge protect their namesake river and its nearby residents from bad waters in this member group feature

See how

Under the eyes of polluters, a farmer takes her stand

Pam Taylor, of Environmentally Concerned Citizens of South Central Michigan, holds factory farms accountable in this member group feature

Read Pam's story

The Ecology Center turns a local scare into statewide change

When lead was found in Ann Arbor schools' pipes, leaders took action—and then looked beyond—in this member group feature

Read how

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The Ecology Center turns a local scare into statewide change

Children and school staff walk down a path alongside an Ann Arbor elementary. (Credit: Midstory)

This story is part of the Michigan Environmental Council's 2022 member magazine, "ECOsystems: Working Wonders With Water." You can read the magazine in full here.


The Ecology Center
knows lead poisoning well. For 50 years, the Environmental Council member group has connected the dots between our health and our environment by eliminating dangerous substances that infiltrate our daily lives.  

But the work became worryingly personal for Rebecca Meuninck, its deputy director, when lead was found in the drinking water of Ann Arbor School District. Her son went there.

Under the eyes of polluters, a farmer takes her stand

Farm pollution activist Pam Taylor steps out of our car to look at the road ahead in rural Lenawee County. (Credit: Midstory)

This story is part of the Michigan Environmental Council's 2022 member magazine, "ECOsystems: Working Wonders With Water." You can read the magazine in full here.


We took the backroads of dirt and gravel around what seemed like the entirety of Southern Michigan, stopping periodically on the roadside but being careful not to linger too long—Pam Taylor’s black Ford Escape might be recognized by prying eyes.

Taylor’s efficient. As soon as the engine cuts, she’s out of the car, geared up in gloves and wielding a long, homemade grabber pole with a plastic water bottle duct-taped to the end. “You don’t need fancy stuff,” she said.

In a sea of flooding, ever-growing oases rise

This story is part of the Michigan Environmental Council's 2022 member magazine, "ECOsystems: Working Wonders With Water." You can read the magazine in full here.


First came the floods. Sewer water gushed up from drains and onto the streets of Dearborn Heights. The river rose into nearby neighborhoods. Yards became knee-high pools and porches their steps into them.

Then came the stories. Basements flooded and molded. Thousands of dollars and cherished possessions were lost—furniture, heating systems, the keepsakes of lost relatives.

And all the while, often unseen, came the pollution. Overburdened sewer systems pumped contaminated water into the open. Floodwater picked up pesticides, heavy metals, motor oils. All of it traveled through communities, emptying into lakes, streams, drinking water, and the homes of both people and wildlife.

Then, weeks later, as these places were drying out, it all began again.