45th Annual Maine Lakes Conference Informs and Inspires

Thank you to all who participated in our 45th Annual Maine Lakes Conference and Celebration on August 22nd! Our keynote presenter, Lisa Borre of The Clary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, led a great lineup of speakers with her informative presentation focused on climate change impacts on lakes and community action to identify and address multiple sources of threats to lake health. Borre provided a global context but brought it home with examples from Maine and elsewhere in New England, reminding the audience that some of the most important work to alleviate negative impacts of climate change begins at the local community level. Summaries of speaker presentations can be found here. Check back soon for links to presentations, more photos, and additional resources offered by presenters.


Keynote presentation by Lisa Borre on Conserving Lakes in a Time of Global Change. Photo by Ryan Burton.

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The Myth of Environmental Protection

by Tom Gordon

In 1970, there was no DEP, no shoreland zoning, and the Great Ponds Act was generally ignored as people dumped sand in their lakes to create beaches that could not last. Municipal sewage and industrial wastes were pouring into our rivers, streams, and lakes.

Times have changed! For 45 years, as COLA and now the Maine Lakes Society, we have advocated for strong but sensible regulations to protect the water quality and beauty of our lakes. Lakeshore property owners have accepted more stringent land use regulations because we know our lakes are fragile and our land use activities can impact the future of the waters we love. We accept regulation “for the sake of our lakes.” Continue reading

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Lakes Face Unprecedented Challenges

Maine’s freshwater lakes are under serious threat. A 2012 University of Maine study shows the clarity of many Maine lakes has declined as much as 20% since 1995. New evidence from Europe shows climate change is accelerating declines in water quality there.

If we do nothing, Maine’s lakes, long a precious asset to residents and those who visit Maine to enjoy them, could become not only a vanished treasure, but a costly liability. But we can do something to avert lake declines. LakeSmart is Maine Lakes’ answer to the freshwater challenge.

But we can do something! To learn more about Lake Smart, click here.  To support LakeSmart with your dollars by donating to the Maine Lakes Society, click here.

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Stephanie’s Sense of Place

Like many of us, Stephanie and Jim Turner realized a cherished dream the day they bought a lakeside place in Maineand named it “Our Song.”  Childhood summers spent with her grandparents near a small Maine pond left Stephanie with tantalizing memories of walking with them to the lake, catching glimpses of the beckoning water through the trees ahead, listening to birdsongs her grandmother repeated as they made their way along a dusty road and ecstatically reached the shore at last. Continue reading

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Climate Warming and Lake Eutrophication

LISA BORRE is a lake conservationist and writer who contributes the National Geographic‘s “Water Currents” blog. By permission we quote from work of hers that appeared in that blog: Climate Change Already Having Profound Impacts on Lakes in Europe and Warming Lakes: Barometers of Climate Change?

Global assessment shows 95% of lakes are warming

In 2010, National Geographic News reported on the results of the first comprehensive global study of lake temperature trends. The study — conducted by researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California using satellite data — found that in the last 25 years, the world’s largest lakes have been steadily warming, some by as much as 4°F (2.2°C). In some cases, the trend is twice as fast as the air temperature trend over the same period. Continue reading

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Maggie Shannon of Maine Lakes Society Testifies in favor of LD 1040: An Act to Enhance Funding Opportunities for Youth Conservation Corps

Good afternoon, Senator Saviello, Representative Welsh, and Distinguished Members of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee.  Continue reading

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Maggie Shannon for Maine Lakes Society testifies in favor of LD 839: An Act to Increase Conservation District Funding

Testimony of Maggie Shannon for Maine Lakes Society in favor of LD 839:  An Act to Increase Conservation District Funding

Good afternoon, Senator Edgecomb, Representative Hickman, and Distinguished Members of the Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry Committee.  My name is Maggie Shannon; I live in Rome, and I am the Executive Director of the Maine Lakes Society and Coordinator of the LakeSmart Homeowner and Education Program.  Continue reading

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Maine Lakes could really use your help next Wednesday to pass this bill. Your grandchildren will thank you for it.

LD 40 Bans Fertilizer Next to Lakes

Mary Kretchmer, 8, along with her Dad, did an experiment with some water from the lake they monitor in New Hampshire. They added 1 teaspoon of 36/6/6/ fertilizer to one jar of Lake Wentworth water, none to another, put the 2 jars on a windowsill, stirred daily, and waited four weeks to see what would happen.

The two jars show Mary Kretchmer’s results.pond water experimentalger bloom in lake

The same thing could happen to waters here in Maine if we don’t take care of them.

Naturally forested lake shorelands have kept Maine’s lake water quality high until recent years.  Today’s population pressures, accelerated by longer growing seasons and intense, more frequent rain events, threaten to affect our pristine waters in the ways shown at left.  A recent satellite study of Maine lakes bore this out when it showed that many Maine lakes lost as much as 20% of their clarity between 1990 and 1995.

Unless we work together to shield our lakes from pollutants, water quality will decline. Continue reading

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Featured Artist: Lucia Wasileski Swallow

Porter Lake Bog_oil 006_Lucia_Swallow_lowLucia Swallow, artist and active member of the Porter Lake Association, is helping to coordinate the Maine Lakes Art Show & Sale to be featured at the 45th Annual Maine Lakes Conference and Celebration on August 22 and during the month of September at the Maine Lakes Resource Center in Belgrade. She generously donated a wrapped canvas print of her painting Porter Lake Bog to be raffled off at the conference (image left).


A Painter’s Poem: by Lucia Wasileski Swallow

“In my sunflower garden”

I witness the simplicity and harmony in nature,

feel a joyful beauty in my heart,

see rich colors, bold shapes, unique forms, contrasts of bright sunlight and deep shadows,

desire to capture these feelings of happiness and freedom with my palate of paint, and

create as my brush moves oils around on a surface. Sunflowers emerge, individual and as a group, surrounded by vibrant colors.

I am immersed, in a trance of creativity.

My heart dances and sings “tis a gift to be simple……”

I savor the process, the journey, the creation.

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, They must be felt with the heart.

Helen Keller


4gen_Lila_crop (1) (2)Artist Statement: My passion is to capture the beauty of the four seasons in Maine and New England via landscapes. For me, it doesn’t get any better than being outdoors and really connecting with the beauty around me: the lakes, mountains, rivers, fields, wildflowers, gardens, and charming old buildings with a past. Vivid colors, textures, shapes and space as well as reflections, lighting, and shadows unique to the time of day and to each season speak to me. My persistent desire to continue with art in one medium or another has given rise to a variety of intimate studies and series.

Education highlights: Art mediums: oil, pastel, water-color, charcoal.  I have spent over forty years studying art, primarily through courses at the University of Maine at Farmington, UMF, where I worked for over twenty-five years. In addition, I have taken a variety of classes & workshops, summer programs, and been involved with statewide juried art shows, artist retreats and plein air painting. Member of Up Country Artist Association and Gallery/Learning Center in Farmington, Maine. Formal Education: B.S. in Elementary Education, and M.ED. / Counseling Career: Guidance Counselor, Licensed Clinical Counselor (LCPC), and Director of Service-Learning.

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Opening and Closing Your Camp

Most of us own a vacation home for rest and relaxation, but it is not always fun!

The chore of opening and closing takes time. It can also cost money if one forgets things, like to drain a pipe!

This lunchtime session will give you tips on how to make this easier and more organized.

You will be provided check lists that are electronic in nature.

  1. What needs to go home.
  2. What are you leaving.
  3. What needs repair when you return.
  4. Who needs to be notified that you are leaving.
  5. Make a shopping list of staples needed to bring back.

Check list will be provided for participants and you can individualize them for your needs.

Speaker Bio:

Sandy Muller was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. She graduated from nursing school at Deaconess Hospital and University of Cincinnati. She received her degree in Health Care Administration from St. Joseph College in Maine. She trained as a cardiovascular Nurse Specialist at Baylor College of Medicine under Michael DeBakey during the heart transplant era. While in Houston, she married Wynn Muller, and later moved to Connecticut working as Director of Nursing for several large hospitals and nursing homes. Sandy was very involved in the town of Cromwell as past chairman of Board of Education and the Water Pollution Control Authority. Over the past thirty years she has trained 2000 students to be baby sitters as part of the Cromwell Youth Services. She was appointed by Governor Rowland as Chairman of the Commission on Aging for the state of Connecticut. Sandy is a Justice of the Peace and frequently presides at marriage ceremonies.

Sandy and Wynn are involved with the lake association at their summer home in Wilton Maine.  Wynn had been president of Friends of Wilson Lake since 2003 and Sandy was co-chairman of the cook book committee which sold over 1000 cookbooks.  Sandy is a good organizer and is also the coordinator of the adult support for backing up the CBI students monitoring the lake.  She also coordinates the successful boat rides on beautiful Wilson Lake during the annual Blueberry Festival each year.  This year 311 people were given free rides.

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Suck It Up and Soak It In!  Guiding Development in Your Town for Cleaner Lakes

How land use affects water quality and how Low Impact Development (LID) techniques reduce hard surfaces, ease stormwater impacts, make things prettier and can save your town money. This talk will include specific examples on individual house lots and larger development in Maine and Northern New England.

Speaker Bio: Mrs. Clannon has over 20 years of land use and water quality experience.  As Director of the Maine NEMO Program, a former Stormwater Engineer for Sewall, and former Project Coordinator for the Maine DEP, LaMarr has been sharing her passion for clean water with land use decision makers and promoting Low Impact Development techniques in Maine.  With a background in chemistry and engineering, she is dedicated to protecting the landscapes that will provide clean water for our children and future generations.  LaMarr lives near Pleasant Pond in Litchfield with her husband and daughter, and has served on several boards and commissions in her community.  LaMarr can be reached atlamarrclannon@gmail.com.

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