Asian Carp Queen and the Zebra Mussel Band

Water at work, water at home, water at play — hot summer days and small-town parades are the perfect reminder of why I love my job.

frankfort michigan small town 4th fourth of july parade asian carp queen zebra mussel band most beautiful place in america sleeping bear dunes

Photo © Aubrey Ann Parker / Circle of Blue
The Asian Carp Queen and her Zebra Mussel Band roll through Frankfort, Michigan, during the 4th of July parade.

My friends who instead opted for big-city life after college often tell me just how envious they are of my flexible editing schedule. Though my days are full of writing about water issues, water manages to seep into other facets of my life, as well: early morning paddle-boarding sessions are not out of the question, evening dog walks are always on the beach at sunset, and lunch breaks — more often than not — include a dip in the lake.

I feel very fortunate to be able to work for Circle of Blue from my home in the heart of the Great Lakes. And it really doesn’t get much more Midwestern than 1,500-resident Frankfort, the only city in the smallest county in Michigan. We may have just one stop light, but we have 97 kilometers (60 miles) of shoreline — 40 kilometers (25 miles) of which are on Lake Michigan — and we’re the gateway to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park (voted “Most Beautiful Place in America” last summer by the viewers of ABC Good Morning America).

Maybe that’s why we’re so adamant about protecting what we have. This being an election year, I wasn’t surprised at the cheers or the boos as the floats and cars of different political parties, all dressed up in red-white-and-blue “VOTE FOR SMITH” signs, passed through Main Street today during Frankfort’s annual 4th of July parade.

But one thing that we could all relate to and believe in — regardless of our differing religious and political beliefs — is the preservation of this place, of the lives that we lead in this Land of Lakes.

As the Invasive Species float rolled by, complete with the Asian Carp Queen and her Zebra Mussel Band, no one booed and everyone paid attention.

Read more about Circle of Blue’s ongoing Asian carp coverage.

Aubrey Ann Parker
Circle of Blue assistant editor

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