Thunder Bay

LakeSmart program back in action on northwestern Ontario's Lake of the Woods

A program on Lake of the Woods that helps to inform cottagers and boaters about how to be good stewards of the resource has officially kicked off its season.

3 environmental science students will share information on invasive species and ecosystem concerns

The LakeSmart team has a boat they use to reach cottagers and lake residents. The team shares information about healthy water and lake habitat. (LOWDPOA)

A program on Lake of the Woods that helps to inform cottagers and boaters about how to be good stewards of the resource has officially kicked off its season.

The program, called LakeSmart, is operated by the Lake of the Woods and District Property Owners Association.

Three students with a background in environmental science have been hired to answer questions both on the water and on land, about everything from invasive species to septic tank leakage.

Diane Schwartz- Williams is the executive Director of the LOWDPOA.

She said the 8 year old program has been well received by Lake of the Woods users.

"There are so many people who either camp on the lake, boat on the lake, cottage on the lake, live on the lake. Who have been doing it for generations," she said. "And there is a real passion for protecting it. And there is an appetite for learning what they can do."

Schwartz-Williams said the Lake Smart ambassadors spend the summer season chatting with cottagers and lake residents about everything from the rules around building a dock, to how they can minimize adding more nutrients to the lake They can even provide tips on how to et rid of skunks.

She said the younger age of the LakeSmart team also reaches a different demographic.

"The message coming from youth, to their generation and younger, is very powerful too. Because it has the impact of them talking to their own group, if you will, " she said. Schwartz-Williams says the LakeSmart team has a boat that is clearly marked and will be making the rounds on Lake fo the Woods all summer.

The team will also be at the weekly Matiowki Farmers Market at the Whitecap Pavilion every Wednesday during the summer months.

Schwartz-Williams said the LakeSmart program costs about $40,000 annually.

She said the program is made possible due to substantial support from sponsors who contribute in kind donations and cash.

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