On Sunday, July 16, 7 Lakes Alliance honored four citizens from three different lakes in the Belgrade Lakes watershed with its 2023 Eddie Mayer Community Conservation Award. The award recognized their instrumental roles as founders of the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC). The 2023 honorees included Jane Eberle of Great Pond and South Portland; Gerald Tipper of East Pond, Lenny Reich of Salmon Lake, and Bob Joly (posthumous).
Eddie Mayer was the quintessential community conservation volunteer. Beginning in 1974, as a volunteer for the Belgrade Lakes Association, Eddie took Long Pond’s “vital signs”, such as temperature, oxygen and clarity, for over three decades. He set an exemplary standard of citizen action to protect the nature of the Belgrade Lakes watershed.
In the decades since the awardees founded the program, the YCC has helped landowners voluntarily control erosion to keep algae-fueling phosphorus out of the lakes. The YCC provides landowners with technical assistance to infiltration steps, buffer gardens and shoreline protection.
According to Stuart Cole, 7 Lakes’ Erosion Control Coordinator, the founders’ vision still benefits the lakes every day. “YCC projects provide water quality protection, native habitat including food, shelter and pollination, and economic value to property owners and communities. Above all, the YCC provide jobs for local youth throughout the watershed, providing them key experience, skills and conservation education. We are grateful to Jane, Lenny, Jerry, and Bob for their foresight.”
Inspired? No matter what your interests, skills or location, there are countless ways you can volunteer to help conserve the nature of the Belgrade Lakes region. To learn how, go to www.7LakesAlliance.org.
©2023 by Summertime in the Belgrades. All rights reserved.