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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Back To The Lake
Watershed Conservancy, LCLC Team Up For First Annual LakeFest!


From noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 4, the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy and Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center are hosting LakeFest! — a watershed festival of fun activities, displays and informative presentations that reflect both CWC’s and LCLC’s commitment to environmental education with a focus on Chautauqua Lake and its watershed. Providing the musical backdrop for the day will be the popular Jamestown-based band Big Leg Emma. LakeFest! is an important kick-off event marking a renewed and rejuvenated effort to engage the entire community on issues of importance to the continued health and vibrancy of Chautauqua Lake. It is a celebration of stewardship for all of us who live in this region and serves as a fun way for all of us to get together and to learn how best to care for the waters that support us. The festival will be held on the grounds of the Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center on Route 430 in Maple Springs, just 3 miles west of I-86. It is on these grounds that a vital partnership between CWC and LCLC began. As part of its Forever Beautiful — Forever Bountiful Campaign, the Conservancy has established a land protection agreement on 16 acres of the expansive and beautiful lakeside forest at LCLC. This site has been permanently protected from future development, thus protecting this portion of Chautauqua Lake from the ravages of watershed pollution. And now CWC and LCLC are eager to share this conservation success with the community — and to demonstrate that each of us has a role in protecting this region’s most valuable asset. ‘‘Chautauqua Lake is a fundamental recreational and economic resource for this region and this event is a way for residents to learn how to take care of this important resource,’’ said John Jablonski III, executive director of the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy.At LakeFest! you will have the opportunity to learn more about Chautauqua Lake, its watershed and the creatures that live in it. Plus you can discover how you and your family can practice good stewardship of the environment to ensure future celebrations like this one.Want to know how Chautauqua Lake was formed? Mark Baldwin, director of education at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute, will be providing background on the geology of Chautauqua Lake. Learn the stories of those who have lived and played upon its shores with Paul Leone, local historian and storyteller, on a pontoon boat ride. Explore the lake’s secret depths with a peek at some artifacts presented by Sam Genco and other Chautauqua Lake scuba divers. And if you are scratching your head wondering just what a watershed is — rest assured you are not alone. You can remedy this by catching Carol Webster’s presentation explaining what a watershed is, how it works and why it is so important to each one of us.If your interest is in wildlife, be sure to discover all the live animals at LakeFest! Meet the birds of prey in our region by attending Ron Walker’s Friends with Feathers presentation. Talk with Elaine Crossely — also known as the ‘‘Bluebird Lady.’’ Go bird-watching with Dick Miga, proprietor of our local Birding Hotline. Get acquainted with local aquatic mammals, their natural history and how and where to observe them, with Wayne Robin’s of Nature Ed Ventures Ventures. And be sure to get an up close look with Kerry Kazial of SUNY Fredonia at those famous flying mammals (bats!) that we see at dusk swooping over Chautauqua Lake. There will be numerous hands-on activities such as building birdhouses for our wild feathered friends with the Home Depot team. And be sure to get some creative design tips on housing wildlife of all sorts from the students of Southwestern Central School as they model the backyard habitat they recently constructed. One tip in advance: Make it natural — and they will come. Natural is just a few steps away at Canadaway Wildflowers. Check out organic gardening products courtesy of Heather Johnson. Chat with the folks from Parable Farms. Take a few moments to watch the ‘‘Great Lawns, Great Lakes’’ presentation to understand how your choices for lawn care impact the watershed. You will also learn how to keep your garden and lawn natural and environmentally friendly. If you own lakeside property, you will want to talk to Universal Water Solutions — also known as the ‘‘Aqua Cleaner’’ — about properly managing the lake in front of your home so that it can be enjoyed and not destroyed. Consider your in-home habits as well in caring for your environment. Wendy Sanfillipo from the Cornell Cooperative extension will be on hand to provide you information on recycling. We all know good old-fashioned outdoor recreation is good for the body and soul. Be sure to say hello to the folks at Evergreen Outfitters who specialize in providing outdoor gear and equipment for just such adventures. Jim Fincher of Rails to Trails will also be on hand to offer information on the numerous trails available local hikers and skiers. The Bemus Point Boy Scouts will also be giving their Leave No Trace camping demonstration — especially good for young campers.And who can think of natural outdoor lake recreation without thinking of fishing? Anyone with an interest in fishing or fish management must attend one or both of the ‘‘fireside chats’’ given by Mike Sperry and Craig Robbins, local expert fishermen in their own right. Anxious anglers can try their hand at tying flies with Monte Kennedy.Children will have the opportunity to explore the natural world in the Fiesta Tent courtesy of the Children’s Museum of Jamestown. They will be providing a host of entertaining and engaging activities and games — including a fishing pool, a sink or float lab, animal puppet theater, an interactive Rocks and Gemstones display and more!Finally who can deny the beauty of nature? Local artists like Ralph Sandquist, who specializes in wildlife carving, will be creating beautiful works of art for your viewing pleasure. Photographers such as Wild Heart Photography will also be at LakeFest! to display, demonstrate and sell their work. Be sure not to miss Bill Tobbe’s ‘‘Barn Series of the Chautauqua Region’’ note cards that will be available for sale too.There is no admission to LakeFest! as we want the entire community to get out and enjoy what we already have in our own backyards. Food and drinks are available for purchase and free parking is provided. Vendors will be selling their products and crafts at the festival. The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy and Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center intend to offer more events and programs that, like LakeFest!, will create awareness, provide knowledge and inspire people to care for the Earth and the region’s most valuable asset — Chautauqua Lake.

LakeFest! is proudly sponsored by Hogan’s Hut, Mayshark Builder’s, Mayville Marina and Webb’s Captain’s Table. Tina Cordner is the outreach coordinator at the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy. Tina Nelson is the environmental educator, Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center

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