June 28 – July 4, 2019Vol. 21, No. 4

Training Future Lake Stewards

by Pete Kallin

Although the calendar says summer has barely begun, it already seems to be flying by with lots going on with the various groups I work with. On National Trail Day, JuneĀ 1, I worked with fellow 7-Lakes Alliance (former BRCA) Stewardship Committee volunteers to clear brush and blaze our new Fogg Island multiuse (bike/hike/ski/snowshoe) trail to get it ready for use. I took a small team (Peter Roderick, and Rod) in by boat to the north end of the trail and Amy Soper and Brian Alexander took a larger group in over land from the south and we worked in from both ends.

The Fogg Island preserve is in Mount Vernon along the southwest shore of Long Pond and is accessible by small boat from Long Pond just south of Ingham Stream or by vehicle from Spring Hill Road. Trail maps will soon be posted on the 7-Lakes website, but in the meantime, call Stewardship Coordinator Amy Soper at 495-6039 to obtain a map.

Academy Hill fourth graders on the Melinda Ann compare notes.

The 7-LA Stewardship volunteers spend a lot of time and effort keeping the local trails in good shape. If you would like to help, please sign up with Mary Kerwood at the MLRC to get on our volunteer list. The work is actually a lot of fun and you will meet some interesting, dedicated people.

Among the many hats I wear, I serve on the board of the Maine Lakes Society (MLS), a statewide nonprofit dedicated to protecting the health of Maine's lakes for future generations through science-based education, action, and policy. In addition to overseeing the LakeSmart Program for lake associations across Maine, we have a program called Lakes Alive, designed to help train tomorrow's lake stewards. We have a 30-ft floating classroom, the Melinda Ann, that we use to take school students and other youth groups out on Maine lakes to give them some hands-on, experiential lake science, such as doing plankton tows and Secchi depth readings and learning to drive our video-equipped, remotely operated vehicle, which allows them to inspect the depths of the lake. They also use a benthic dredge to capture critters and sediments from the bottom.

Last week, sponsored by the Town of Wilton and Friends of Wilson Lake, we towed the Melinda Ann to Wilson Lake where we took 45 fourth-grade students from Academy Hill School (RSU-9) out on three trips, teaching them a bit about watersheds and lake science. Simultaneously, MLS President Jen Jespersen and some of the Academy Hill teachers directed some ecology-oriented shore activities for the students waiting to get out on the boat. The kids had a ball and learned a lot. Read this article for details.

"Stormin'" Norman Clark (with pike) and son Trent (with bass) on Messalonskee Lake.

This area offers some great outdoor recreation, whether you like to hike, bike, birdwatch, fish, sail, or paddle a canoe or kayak. Pick up a map of the local trails at Day's Store or from the 7-LA at the Maine Lakes Resource Center. Keep an eye on the sign in front of the MLRC and check the 7-LA website and Facebook page for further updates. And make sure you take a kid along on your next outdoor adventure!

Pete Kallin is a past director of the Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance, which merged with the Maine Lakes Resource Center in December 2017 to form the 7-Lakes Alliance.