A Funny Thing Happened On My Way To The Windfarm.....

Education & Training with GLREA

I had a wonderful thing happen to me this year.

I was hired as adjunct faculty by the forward thinking Grand Rapids Community College to teach Wind Energy Technology. I am always looking to broaden my horizons...and this experience has broadened my horizons far more than I thought possible.

Mary Bigelow


First of all, I never thought I would make front page news...boy was I surprised and my Daddy was proud to see me on the front page of anything, especially The Collegiate!

And then they started calling me Professor! of all things!

Imagine THAT!



All kidding aside, I had a great first year educating  50 or so students about wind energy.

I normally work in small and medium wind, so it was quite exciting for me to get involved in Big Wind! Several times this year I was able to visit Stoney Corners Wind Farm in McBain, Michigan.

McBain, Michigan is a very small farming community you will find on your way "north." Just off US 131, south of Cadillac. In my travels north, I have driven past it many times without ever knowing it...until now. Now I know McBain a little bit. And you, too, if you know when to look, you can see wind generators off in the distance as you travel the 131 corridor...get to know McBain....

Next time you are heading to northern Michigan keep an eye out just south of Cadillac...

I think they are a thing of beauty...maybe you will too? Not everyone agrees but not everyone does due diligence to find out. Many just believe what they read...

I had an experience....

What strikes me most is the feeling of power when I am visiting and walking the grounds. The silence speaks to me. I have always heard wind generators are noisy and I know from the small installations we have done they are pretty quiet. Just wait, I heard, until you hear the big ones....

Funny...I couldn't hear anything until I was within 100 yards or so....and then I heard a graceful sweep, converting a free resource into power...with no strip mining, no risk to the  surrounding crops, no harm to the ocean ecosystems ~ only a graceful sound like the ocean surf hitting the shore...so soothing and calming. I always sleep well hearing the ocean waves pounding the shore, or the rain hitting the roof...I would probably sleep well lulled by a wind turbine capturing energy also...a nice B & B on the site and I would be able to find out!

A B & B? What a great opportunity for tourism! "Come to my farm and find out what it is like to live on a wind farm!" Entrepreneurs listen up!

What a great opportunity for landowners in the area who share in the revenue of the wind farm and increase their property values and income.

What a great opportunity for local economics! The local diners, restaurants and hotels have loved the contractors.

What a great opportunity for local retail trade! The grocery stores, movie galleries and gas stations have found new clientelle!

What a great opportunity for the schools and the local municipalities...who have discovered a new source of tax revenue...for books and transportation and roads...

What a great opportunity....

For Michigan, who currently purchases 97% of fuel sources from over state lines, to use a natural resource and retain dollars in the state. An ailing state if I may add....what a great opportunity!

On my way to the Wind Farm I found opportunity in jobs. A great opportunity for Michigan land owners and residents. I still find small, distributed generation the BEST opportunity but on my way to the wind farm I realized...

I found jobs...jobs it retail, construction, data analysis, research, services. The list goes on.

I found an opportunity for independence for the state of Michigan...ranked 14th in the nation for wind resources and third in the nation if one figures in off shore wind.

I found students, young and old alike, who recognize renewable energy as part of the solution.

Michigan is taking advantage of the opportunity its natural resources provide....

stay tuned...what will happen on my way to the wind farm next?








Comments (9)

Carolyn Kolba
Serving Mentor, and all of Lake County, Ohio - Mentor, OH
Keller Williams Realty- Mentor, Ohio

Mary, it just amazes me how so many folks can either be so unaware of the benefits of wind farms, or even be so against the concept.  I mean, talk about renewable energy sources.  I wish more folks would be so positive about it.  So, keep up teaching your classes.  You only have slightly over 300,000,000 students to go.

Jun 30, 2010 10:21 PM
Mary McGraw
GLREA - Rockford, MI
2015: Solar Energy Is Still A Simple Machine!

Hi Carolyn,

I really appreciate your comment. I find it very interesting that many folks only find the negative, inaccurate information and focus on it. It is like they have blinders on. You have some nice wind farms starting in Ohio...some day we will get there.

300,000,000 students...wow! Talk about job security :) LOL!

Jul 01, 2010 04:07 PM
Loan Survivor Real Estate Financing Expert
Purchases, First Time Buyers, Pre-Approvals, Refinance - Birmingham, MI

I'm all for wind energy too!  We need more renewable energy sources and people need to embrace not complain about it.

Jul 02, 2010 01:21 PM
Sabrina Kelley
ERA Herman Group Real Estate - Woodland Park, CO
Woodland Park Colorado Mountain Homes and Land

I recently heard that Pueblo Colorado is hiring over 100 new workers for its' new wind power production plant.  Way to go for green jobs Colorado.

Jul 23, 2010 09:19 AM
Stanton Homes
Stanton Homes - New Home Builder - Raleigh, NC
Design/Build Custom Home Builder in North Carolina

What a wonderful opportunity - and you were able to learn some new things too!

Jul 28, 2010 12:38 AM
CONTACT janeAnne365@gmail.com


And I thought you were going to be accused of just "blowing hot air"!! HEY..This is great stuff...and will be Featured at the Eco-All-Stars group...you inspire greatness in all of us...Thank you..

Aug 02, 2010 04:44 AM
Mary McGraw
GLREA - Rockford, MI
2015: Solar Energy Is Still A Simple Machine!

@ Drew: I agree people should embrace new practices in how we do things in the United States! It will take a combination of new technology to get us out of the mess we are in, Ollie!

@ Sabrina: Isn't it great to hear of NEW jobs! How wonderful for Colorado! Hopefully, new Wind Farms in Michigan will also bring manufacturing opportunity to our state with a highly skilled manufacturing base.

@ Penny: YES!! Always a student of life!

@ JaneAnne: THANKS for the feature! Now that I am being called Windy Mary some folks think I blow hot air! Actually there is more power in COLD air! Ah, but you will have to come to Meechigan to take my class and learn about that!!

Aug 02, 2010 09:50 AM
Jeff R. Geoghan
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Lancaster, PA
REALTOR, Marketing Manager

How is this working out, Professor?  Sounds like a wonderful opportunity...

Sep 02, 2010 08:04 AM
Mary McGraw
GLREA - Rockford, MI
2015: Solar Energy Is Still A Simple Machine!

Hi Mayor Jeff! Fairly well although I am on a haitus due to low enrollment in my course...I'm working on a fun project in the meantime...it has to do with a wind farm in Northern Michigan! check it out...www.gailwindspower.com!


Sep 19, 2010 04:16 PM