Here's sampling of the programs and projects the group has created and maintained to help preserve Wilson Lake and educate the community.
Courtesy Boat Inspection Program
The crown in the FOWL portfolio of efforts has been our monitoring program. Our Boat Monitoring program has a positive affect the water quality of Wilson Lake. We began inspecting boats in 2003 with the objective of keeping milfoil and other invasive plants from our lake. We know that plants are introduced to new lakes through the inadvertent attachment to boats and boat trailers. Our paid inspectors assist boaters by explaining to them the dangers of invasive plants and assisting them to inspect their own boats so that it will become an ingrained habit that they will continue even when no inspectors are present. We inspect all boats entering our lake on all weekends and holidays as well as Friday evenings to check for potential invasive plants. Boat traffic is the main method that invasive plants move from lake to lake. This will be our thirteenth year of monitoring and we dedicated our cookbook sales to this program in 2008. We have had 29 different students working in this program and numerous repeaters. We check boats entering and leaving from Memorial Day until Labor Day. Our annual cost exceeds $4000 which is partially offset by a DEP grant of $2000. Most of the boaters are highly supportive of the program as they recognized the need to keep our lake free of invasive plants.
We always need both adult and student help. If you can possibly give us a hand, email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
In 2004 we adopted the state program called LakeSmart. It offers a free evaluation of properties around the lake and within the watershed to assess how well ones property is benefiting the lake and offers suggestions on how the property could be improved in this endeavor. It is strictly educational and voluntary. When you see someone with a LakeSmart sign, ask them how you can apply for one also. Click here for more information.
Elementary School Lakes and Loons Program
A few years ago, we learned that due to human intervention we lost a loon chick from the lake. As a result we began funding a scholastic loon project to raise children's awareness of the value of this waterfowl breed that inhabits Wilson Lake. The group's membership believes that educating children about loons will reinforce protection of these remarkable birds. The program on “Lakes and Loons”, is presented by Patrick Keenan from BioDiversity Research Institute (BRI). He talks to the students about loons, wildlife and the need to protect them and their habitat.
Patrick Keenan, is assisted by FOWL member Nancy Prince, as they introduce a creative, interactive classroom presentation that personalized wildlife issues for the children. Students listened to recorded loon calls, observed the physical features of an adult male specimen in a glass case, and learned how loons are banded. They learned to identify the loons' tremolo call that shows when the birds feel threatened. Keenan stressed the sensitivity of the loon nesting period and the need to keep away from nests and young loons.
During the session students acted the part of researchers identifying the special features of loons, loon nests, and their chicks. The children had the opportunity to share their observations with the group, helping them to recognize the role that scientific information has in promoting conservation efforts.
The Wilton students' enthusiasm and desire to help protect loons demonstrates the positive results that can occur when community organizations collaborate to safeguard our natural resources.
DAVID PRINCE MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM
Each year Friends of Wilson Lake provides a scholarship award to a deserving individual bound for college.