UDM professor and alum win award for documentary

Dr. Zigmond Kozicki, an associate professor at Detroit Mercy, and Dr. Stephanie Baiyasi-Kozicki, a UDM alumnae, were recently awarded the 2023 Philo T. Farnsworth Award for their documentary film titled “Great Lakes: One Water for Life.” 

The documentary film is about the Great Lakes, the largest group of freshwater lakes in the world.

The Philo T. Farnsworth Award is a non-competitive award presented by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. The winner is selected by a jury of television engineers from ATAS’s Engineering Emmy Awards Committee. 

The 60-minute documentary was to show people that the Great Lakes are the most important natural resource in the U.S. and we need to protect it and preserve it. 

Kozicki said we don’t know what all the chemicals in the water are in the Great Lakes. He said we need to be able to filter water and keep a record of what chemicals and pathogens are present. 

He said, “It seems like we are more concerned in whether fish get sick than humans getting sick from contaminants in the water. That was really evident to what happened in Flint.”  

Baiyasi-Kozicki stressed the importance about creating a national water index.

She said, “One thing that we brought forward in the movie is that there is a need for a water quality index and a water quantity index.” 

She mentioned that we already have an air quality index, but our leaders and legislators need to have a water index to be able to protect the Great Lakes.  

Another big concern is that communities are also taking the water out of the Great Lakes and not returning it. 

Baiyasi-Kozicki said, “Waukesha, WI, taking water, which is not a city on the basin, but yet was given allowance to take water out of the Great Lakes.” 

Apparently now Chicago is looking at taking water out of the Great Lakes. She said that if these communities take water out, they should be responsible for putting the water back in. This will continue to be a threat if the issue is not addressed.

Kozicki said in the future that every community is going to want water from the Great Lakes.  

He said, “When we were in New Mexico, we were shocked when they said, we want your water.” 

He was told that New Mexico’s water is unhealthy, and they need to truck water in, which costs $200 a truck. 

Kozicki said, “The two biggest threats, are water quality, and we need testing centers for that, and water quantity, what amount of water we have at our disposal on a day-to-day basis.” 

He said that we need to act quickly so more damage to the area is avoided.

“If we are not careful or smart about how we use this resource in the future, it could lead to some really bad outcomes for the population,” Kozicki said.