It’s winter here in the land of AWWA, but that doesn’t stop us from working to protect our area’s lakes. While I can’t have our YCC install projects on lakefront roads and properties, and I certainly can’t give advice on erosion issues when the land is covered in a thick white blanket, things are still plenty busy over here at AWWA.

First and foremost, we recently wrapped up our unit on groundwater with the seventh graders of Acton and Wakefield. Students learned about how water goes from clouds to aquifers to their faucets and back again. We also learned about different chemicals that can end up in groundwater, and what they mean for us, as well as home plumbing. Students tested their groundwater for pH, conductivity, chloride, nitrates, hardness and iron. I then made maps which the students were able to review to find trends in the data. Students came away from the lesson with an increased sense of their role on groundwater quality. Special thanks to all the volunteers who helped make this program a success for 2014!

We’ve done some major updates to our website over the past few months. Each lake page now has some interesting facts about it as well as individual maps of YCC projects. In lieu of a traditional newsletter that costs money and trees, we’ve developed a webpage to give updates about “What’s AWWA up to”. Most exciting (to me at least) is a new interactive map detailing all of AWWA’s YCC sites for the past eight seasons with photos, project statistics, and more! Keep checking AWWA’s Facebook page and website, as I’ll be adding a new blog exploring the rivers of the AWWA region in the coming weeks.

We also recently assisted with the Province Lake Association’s Action Plan meeting. This was one of our most successful meetings yet, 60 people attended despite it taking place on a snowy Saturday morning in January. The meeting served as a way for lake residents, state and town officials, conservation groups, and researchers to discuss the threats to Province Lake and specific actions we need to take in order to combat these threats. This meeting will contribute to the Action Plan, which will ultimately describe what actions to take to reduce the occurrence of algae blooms in Province Lake, as well as how much of an effect each action will have. For more information on the meeting, check out this article written by the Carroll County Independent.

PLA Meeting

Province Lake Action Plan Meeting, a huge success

Beyond participating in, and planning, events like our educational programs or the PLA Meeting, winter provides AWWA with an opportunity for self-examination. This opportunity coincided perfectly with my new role at AWWA as Program Manager. Over the coming months I will continue to look for ways that I can use my skills and experiences to make AWWA an even more effective, well-run organization. I’m also going to be attending seminars, workshops, webinars, conferences and anything else I can find to allow me to better serve the AWWA lakes and communities.

While the lakes may be dormant and Acton & Wakefield aren’t the bustling communities they will be come July, AWWA is doing anything but resting. We are learning, training, growing; and we can’t wait ‘til summer!

-Sam Wilson
AWWA Program Manager