Education: Water Resources to Keep You Busy All Winter

Books and documentaries to keep your passion for our waterways warm.Too cold to venture outside, but want to keep connected to your rivers and lakes? We’ve prepared some recommendations for books, documentary films, and activities for kids to keep your passion for our waterways warm this winter!

Even in our off-hours, PCS staff members Kris and Liv love learning about our waterways. Below are some resources and media we’ve enjoyed in the past, and are glad to pass on to you.

Books For Adults

In the Watershed: A Journey Down the Maumee River by Ryan Schnurr (2017). Fort Wayne native Ryan Schnurr traces the history, ecology, and culture of the Maumee River as he makes a trip from his hometown to the river’s mouth in Toledo, Ohio.

The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan (2017). This science-driven odyssey across the Great Lakes has been called “sharply written” and “compulsively readable” by the New York Times. Pulitzer Prize finalist Dan Egan crafts a cautiously hopeful narrative, pairing complex environmental problems with concrete solutions, both at an individual level as well as policy level.

Books for Kids

The Day the Great Lakes Drained Away by Charles Ferguson Barker. A humorous and fascinating picture book about what the Great Lakes would look like without water. What’s down there? What would happen with no water? Alongside adorable illustrations, this book contains NOAA maps that show the underwater features of the lakes. Reading age: elementary school.

Shipwrecks, Monsters, and Mysteries of the Great Lakes by Ed Butts. As many of us know, the Great Lakes are home to unpredictable storms, uncharted rocks, and treacherous shorelines. This book is a collection of legends and true stories across three hundred years of exciting Great Lakes history. Reading age: older elementary school to middle school.


The Worth of Water: A Great Lakes Story (2020) – In August 2017, Alyssa Armbruster and Julia Robson set off on a trek from Milwaukee to Lake Superior to raise awareness for the Great Lakes. In spite of their majesty, the Great Lakes are a fragile ecosystem facing serious threats. Learn from these amazing women about their inspiring journey and how you can help steward the largest bodies of freshwater on the planet.

The Plastic Problem (2019) – Plastic pollution is now considered one of the largest environmental threats facing humans and animals globally. In this PBS News Hour special, Amna Nawaz and her colleagues look at this ubiquitous material and how it’s impacting the world, why it’s become so prevalent, what’s being done to mitigate its use, and what potential alternatives or solutions are out there. This program travels from Boston to Seattle, Costa Rica to Easter Island to bring the global scale of the problem to light.

Activities for Kids

Be an Ocean Guardian: Activity Book – Free-to-download printable PDF aimed at children in kindergarten through third grade. Contains crossword puzzles, a marine sanctuary map, and coloring and drawing activities. 

Understanding Marine Debris: Games and Activities – Free-to-download printable PDF aimed at older elementary school children. Full of puzzles, brain-teasers, and coloring activities to help children understand the problem of marine debris, while having fun at the same time.