News & Classical Music from Northern Michigan
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Points North is a biweekly podcast about the land, water and inhabitants of the Upper Great Lakes. It’s about where we've been, where we are and how we move forward.

Recent Episodes
  • According to an Anishinaabe prophecy, manoomin – wild rice – is what brought the Ojibwe, Odawa and Potawatomi peoples to the Great Lakes.But starting in the late 1800s, manoomin’s decline was fast and widespread. And just like the plant itself, a lot of knowledge around harvesting practices has been lost. Some Anishinaabek are changing that.
  • Lake Superior’s northern shore has been home to woodland caribou for thousands of years. But now, the species is facing local extinction. Some blame climate change for the caribou's decline. But the species has persisted through an ice age, and through warming temperatures. It’s survived climate change before. So why is it in trouble now?
  • Northern Michigan is the perfect place to be outdoors with its extensive forests and pristine rivers. The irony is, it’s also the perfect place to simulate warfare. A proposed expansion is putting some residents and the Michigan National Guard head-to-head.
  • Rails are secretive marsh birds, and they’re on the decline. But a researcher playing their recorded calls over a loudspeaker could help bring them back – by tricking them.
  • Lyme disease is increasing in the Upper Midwest. The illness is caused by a bite from an infected black-legged tick. But the disease can be hard to spot. If left untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body and cause arthritis and nervous system problems.
  • A deadly fungal infection is pushing some bat species to the brink of extinction. As scientists scramble to track the spread of white nose syndrome, they’re also testing novel ways to treat it.
  • Dick Mallery is tired of quick fixes to his 50-year-flooding problem; he wants a nearby culvert replaced. But even that will only keep floodwaters away if it’s designed to withstand the new normal. As climate change brings heavier rainfall and more frequent floods to the Upper Great Lakes, our infrastructure needs an overhaul.
  • The Constitution refers to treaties with other sovereign nations as “the supreme law of the land.” But what happens when promises have been made that are potentially in conflict? Two different treaties with the U.S. could lead to very different outcomes for Line 5 – a controversial pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac.
  • In 2013, a train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. The dangers of oil trains are part of the controversy around Enbridge Line 5 – a pipeline running through the Straits of Mackinac in Michigan. In part two of this series, we look at the risks of transporting crude oil by pipe and by rail.
  • There’s no safe way to move crude oil across an entire continent. So what risks are we willing to take? And who bears the brunt of that risk? Over the next couple episodes, we'll be looking at two times when transporting oil went horribly wrong. Today, we’ll hear about a pipeline that ruptured. Next time, we’ll consider the alternative.