Friday, April 26, 2019

Keeping Lakes Region’s most precious resource in tip-top condition can be successful through volunteer efforts

By Lorraine Glowczak

A new Windham Town committee has recently been established to keep much needed attention on the greatest natural resource in the Sebago Lakes region – water. The Town of Windham’s Natural Resource Committee (WNRC) is spearheaded by Windham Councilor, Donna Chapman and is chaired by Dennis Brown, who is also an active volunteer for the Highland Lake Leadership Team and has been instrumental in targeting the many environmental concerns facing the lake.

As mandated by the state from each municipality, Councilor Chapman explained the importance of
the newly launched WNRC. “We have never had such a committee before and seeing that we have five watersheds on the impaired list, it seems necessary to have a committee working on these issues,” explained Chapman. “The committee will look at all of our open spaces and determine how our natural resources are used, discovering things we can be doing to prevent further [environmental damage] – combining that with the action of community volunteers.”

Brown reiterated Chapman’s response adding that those in the Windham, Raymond and other lake region communities can give in ways with very little time commitment. “The more volunteers we have, the less obligation it will take on an individual level.”
There are several ways to be active, offering a few hours of your time in an effort to clean up the
natural spaces surrounding the region’s streams and lakes. One is by being a member of the Natural Resource Committee for those who are Windham residents. To be considered as a member, playing an active role in making decisions, one need only apply via the Town of Windham’s website at

Another opportunity is through the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust (PRLT) which has established their own citizen science volunteer program.

“We run a 20-week water quality monitoring program that goes from May through September and involves collecting water samples every other Saturday morning from somewhere in our five-town region,” stated Toby Jacobs, PRLT Stewardship and Outreach Manager. “Most volunteers work in pairs or groups of three and sample three sites per group. Samples are tested for dissolved oxygen (high amounts of which is crucial for aquatic life) and bacteria (high levels of which can make water dangerous for drinking or swimming).” [from a previous interview published in the March 1, 2019 edition of the Windham Eagle.]

PRLT will host a training led by the Maine DEP on Saturday, May 4. The training will include how to collect water samples and data every other Saturday morning from mid-May through mid-September. Water stewards are placed in teams of two to three, so you don’t need to be available for every sampling day. Please contact for more information.

townmanager@fryeislandtown.orgIf you are interested in participating with the PRLT in other environmental events, they have a variety of volunteer opportunities, “We are always taking volunteers to help us with trails to our new wildlife initiative to create habitat for key species in the region,” stated Jacobs. “People can sign-up and”
obtain information at

In regard to becoming a volunteer and water steward, Chapman captured the current situation the best “….the more, the merrier.” And as for the active work in cleaning up our most precious resource, collectively doing our best to keep the Lake Region waters clean, “…let’s get this show on the road.”

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