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Meet the Crew: the MLRC’s 2015 Summer Interns

Seeing lots of new faces on the lakes and out in the watershed? You may have seen some of our interns from Colby College who are working on the Water Quality Initiative this summer. These students are hard at work driving boats, writing code, collecting samples, conducting analysis in the lab, and getting to know the local community. Beginning this July, these students will present weekly updates on the state of water quality conditions in the Belgrade Lakes. These presentations will be held in the MLRC during the Belgrade Lakes Market.

If you see any of the students and have questions about the project, don’t be afraid to introduce yourself!

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Name: Francis Dunham

Hometown/Home State: Worthington, MA

Major/Minor(s): Government and Global Studies/Anthropology

Responsibility within the project: Project logistics coordination.

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Name: Ellie Irish

Hometown/Home State: South Hamilton, MA

Major/Minor(s): Chemistry/Sociology

Responsibility within the project: Utilization of various analytic instruments to determine the nutrient composition of water samples from the Belgrade Lakes. Ellie also is part of the sampling team out on the lakes.

Future Plans: Environmental Public Health.

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Name: Albertha Ladina

Hometown/Home State: Brooklyn, NY

Major/Minor(s): Environmental Science/Russian and Chemistry

Responsibility within the project: Preparing the communications and community engagement portions of the project. Albertha also is part of the sampling team out on the lakes.

Future Plans: Graduating from school!

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Name: Sergio Madrigal

Hometown/Home State: San Jose, CA

Major/Minor(s): Environmental Science

Responsibility within the project: Project logistics coordination.

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Name: Anne Schechner

Hometown/Home State: Scarsdale, NY

Major/Minor(s): Environmental Science

Responsibility within the project: Working in R to develop a framework for data analysis and visual representation accessible on both citizen and science levels.

Future Plans: TBD

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Name: Kara Witherill

Hometown/Home State: Readfield, ME

Major/Minor(s): Global Studies/Chemisty and German

Responsibility within the project: Sample analysis with Latchat, ICP, and Flowcam. Kara also is part of the sampling team out on the lakes.

Future Plans: Teaching English in Haßfurt, Germany on a Fulbright Scholarship.

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Name: Danqing Zhao

Hometown/Home State: Hangzhou, China

Major/Minor(s): Chemistry and Computer Science

Responsibility within the project: Research assistant to Professor King. Danqing also is part of the sampling team out on the lakes and assists with post-collection lab analysis.

MLRC Partner Highlight: The BLA LakeSmart Program

For more than a century, the Belgrade Lakes Association has worked towards its mission to preserve the water quality of Great and Long ponds. As testament to that dedication, the BLA’s LakeSmart program is robust, having screened more than 300 properties around their two lakes in the past decade. LakeSmart, a volunteer-operated education program, offers shoreline property owners the opportunity to learn ways of minimizing their property’s impact the lake. To be “LakeSmart”, one must simply maintain their lakeside properties in a manner which mirrors nature and prevents stormwater runoff from entering the water.

A LakeSmart property on Great Pond in Rome, ME.

This past winter, the BLA engaged a nationally-known consultant, Ken Wagner, to report on the state of the Belgrade Lakes. Based upon the decades of data he reviewed, Wagner concluded that Great and Long ponds are at risk of reaching a tipping point where algal blooms could result. More data is required to fully understand the state of the lakes. In response, MLRC and its conservation partners are actively collecting more data this summer as part of the Water Quality Initiative. While the final outcome of those studies is not yet known, it is clear that everything must be done to prevent erosion and keep pollutants out of the lakes. The time for action is now.

In response to the threat of declining water quality in the Belgrade Lakes, the BLA screeners are stepping up their efforts. With a crew of 14 experienced volunteers, the BLA LakeSmart program is primed for an ambitious season. Despite the rainy weather, volunteers were present at the first Belgrade Lakes Market of the season, prepared to answer questions and sign up interested individuals for a property screening. The volunteers intend to be present for each market throughout the summer, rain or shine.

Other developments to the program this year include a partnership with the BRCA Youth Conservation Corps. Program Director, Nathan Durant has been trained as a LakeSmart screener so that he can better design BMPs (best management practices) to LakeSmart recommendations. YCC project sites on Great Pond and Long Pond will now be prescreened for LakeSmart as a part of the initial site evaluation process. Nathan and BLA LakeSmart volunteers are reaching out to local road associations to talk about their respective program’s new synergy.

To sign up for a screening or for more information about BLA LakeSmart, contact BLA LakeSmart Coordinator Logan Parker at lparker.mainelakes@gmail.com.

Belgrade Lakes Market Returning on June 21st

Looking for something fun to do this Father’s Day?

The MLRC is pleased to announce that the wildly popular Belgrade Lakes Market will be returning for the season beginning this Sunday, June 21st. The market, which is held on the grounds of the Maine Lakes Resource Center, offers a variety of locally grown produce, fresh baked goods, and handmade products. New editions this year include new vendors and live music each week.

Beginning this July, Colby College students involved in the Water Quality Initiative will be presenting weekly updates on the water quality conditions in each of the seven lakes during market hours. These student researchers will report on the latest data from the intensive sampling efforts ongoing in the Belgrade Lakes this summer. These presentations will be held in the MLRC at three posted times throughout the market. Information from the presentations will be made available online for those unable to attend.

The Belgrade Lakes Market will take place every Sunday throughout the summer until September 6th. We look forward to seeing you there!