Connecting with Lake Erie

Connecting with Lake Erie

Update: 2023-05-15


Lake Erie is the fourth largest lake by surface area of the five Great Lakes in North America and the eleventh-largest globally. The city of Erie is the main access point for Pennsylvanians to the Great Lakes. The 3,200 acre Presque Isle state park, featuring 13 public beaches, is the most popular of all of Pennsylvania’s state parks, with almost 4 million people visiting it every year. This “almost an island” reaches out into lake Erie creating both Pennsylvania’s only seashore, as well as the Presque Isle Bay that the city of Erie sits on.

First Segment:

First we'll  talk with filmmakers Melissa A. Troutman and John C. Lyons, who are the team behind the two-part documentary “Lake Erie, Our Kin” which was just released by WQLN public broadcasting in Erie. 

Melissa wrote it and she and John co-directed it and also conducted all the interviews for it. Included among her long list of credits, Melissa produced and directed the Rights of Nature documentary, “Invisible Hand” with executive producer and Emmy winner Mark Ruffalo. 

Born in Erie, John is an award winning filmmaker who had produced a number of feature length works and shorter documentaries. In 2020 he release the environmental horror film, UNEARTH about the evils that are released into the world when fracking goes wrong. 

If you would like to watch the two-part documentary, "Lake Erie, Our Kin” visit the website for WQLN, Erie’s public broadcasting station, Chronicles Page -

Second Segment:

For a number of years, a small but mighty group of activists in Erie have called themselves “Hold Erie Coke Accountable” which is exactly they have been doing in their efforts to require the Erie Coke factory, which sat right on the bay, from violating air quality emissions and spilling contaminants into the lake. The two leaders of Hold Erie Coke Accountable are Erie Benedictine Sister Pat Lupo and Dr. Mike Campbell, a distinguished professor of biology at Mercyhurst University.

Third Segment:

PennFuture is a statewide environmental advocacy organization, with offices in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and the Poconos. Since 2020 we have also been in Erie. Jenny Tompkins is PennFuture’s Campaign Manager for Clean Water Advocacy - Lake Erie Watershed

Environmental Voices
is sponsored by Envinity.  Designing and installing solar power systems for homes and businesses in Central and Western PA since 2005. Information on how Envinity can help to achieve net-zero energy can be found at

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Connecting with Lake Erie

Connecting with Lake Erie

PennFuture - Hosted by M. Travis DiNicola