Put-in-Bay, OH John Hageman, Co-Manager at Ohio State’s Stone Laboratory and Ottawa County Extension Educator, received three awards for his magazine writing at the Outdoor Writers of Ohio Conference on May 12.
His article, "Dead Zones May Lead to Mayfly Declines in Lake Erie," won First Place for Best Magazine Article, beating 30 other entries, and he won a Second Place award and an Honorable Mention for two other articles.
"Dead Zones" form in areas of Lake Erie over the summer when warm surface water separates from cold bottom water. As animals and decaying algal blooms use up the bottom water’s limited oxygen, there isn’t enough oxygen left to support fish and other animals, including mayflies, which serve as food for important sport fish, like walleye and yellow perch. "Mayflies are canary in the coalmine," he says. "If there were widespread mayfly deaths one year, that shows we had low oxygen in the lake the previous summer. Nobody is coming out and saying this, but there’s plenty of evidence."
Last July, students working on independent research projects while attending Stone Laboratory classes measured areas with low oxygen in several Western Basin locations around the Lake Erie islands. Later in the month, Ohio Division of Wildlife biologists cited low oxygen as a possible reason for low young-of-year walleye catches in their July trawls.
A member of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio since 1995, Hageman has the background to write about outdoor activities from first-hand experience. His love for the outdoors and outdoor magazines stretches back to when he was 13 years old, learning how to hunt, fish, and trap. He only had to walk down his street to hunt pheasants and the four days of high school he missed were the opening days of pheasant season every year.
Around the same time, he began trapping animals to sell their fur. "I trapped on my bicycle and checked the traps every day until I got a car," he says. "The magazines I started getting then were a great avenue to teach me new skills and techniques."
He got good enough that one year, he paid his tuition at Ohio State just by trapping muskrat along the Olentangy River.
Now, he subscribes to about 30 publications-one from as far away as South Dakota where he used to go pheasant hunting-and writes for a handful, including Ohio Outdoor News and Great Lakes Angler. He saves some and throws away others, but has every issue of Fur-Fish-Game since 1973. "I’ll need to sell some of them on eBay soon," he says.
Ohio State University’s Ohio Sea Grant program is part of NOAA Sea Grant, a network of 32 Sea Grant programs dedicated to the protection and sustainable use of marine and Great Lakes resources. For information on Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Lab, visit ohioseagrant.osu.edu .
John Hageman, Stone Laboratory Co-Manager, Ohio Sea Grant Extension Educator, 614.247.6500, firstname.lastname@example.org .