An Eight Year-Old's Reflections on Sea Lamprey Control
BY REBECCA NEELEY AND ETHAN RESZEWSKI, MARQUETTE BIOLOGICAL STATION
The question “What do you do?” is a very common conversation starter. Generally, after I have outlined the parameters of my work as a fish biologist with the Sea Lamprey Control Program to any adult who inquires, the response will almost certainly be “Oh, you work with those eels!” This response is assuredly different when explaining my job to a child.
Some might respond with “eeewww,” another with “that’s gross!,” but the third might be very curious to learn more. My cousin Ethan is one of those children, he was born with a spark of wonderment.
At the age of eight, Ethan is already versed in asking questions about everything around him. He took a very special interest in the job I hold as a fish biologist asking questions like, “How many lamprey do you kill?” “Do they attack humans?” “How long do they live?” After thoroughly answering Ethan’s questions, giving him a DVD on lampreys and a “cool” lamprey mouth rub-on tattoo, Ethan continued to be intrigued with lamprey.
Ethan’s third grade class wrote essays on the topic: “The World Would Be Better If…”. Ethan chose to write about his thoughts on the shared responsibility of conservation and included information from our conversations about sea lamprey control. Here is an excerpt from his paper:
“There are problems in the Great Lakes. An example Sea Lamprey is a problem. My cousin Becky works with Sea Lamprey. Sea Lamprey are a predatory fish. They feed on fish blood. They kill 40 pounds of fish in their life. My cousin Becky attracts them with a scent and they say it smells and they say it’s good. Yummy! Then they come up in a group on top of the water and then Becky releases the chemical in the water to kill them. They have gills so if they breathe in the chemical they die. The chemical kills them inside. Then they fall down to the bottom of the lake or river. That’s people being RESPONSIBLE!!”
It’s inspiring to see how knowledge and information take hold in youth. Ethan chose to write about how all humans are responsible for the health of the planet and conserving our environment. Ethan’s direct connection to someone in the natural resource field influenced his idea of how to make the world a better place, and what he came up with was: conservation and responsibility. If it only was that simple!