SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. >> For the third straight year, the Saratoga Lake Protection and Improvement District offered a “floating classroom” in collaboration with the Adirondack Watershed Institute during the state’s annual Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Week.
MORE PHOTOS: ‘FLOATING CLASSROOM’ ON SARATOGA LAKE
“This is really exciting for me because basically it’s for a lot of kids and a lot of people to learn about the invasive species, and some of the challenges to Saratoga Lake,” said Peter Martin, a Saratoga County supervisor. “It’s a great lake with a lot of recreational opportunities but we have to make sure that we’re protecting those opportunities and protecting the lake and nature that’s here. This is a first learning opportunity for a lot of these kids. It’s a great time.”
Cristina Connolly serves as chair of Saratoga Lake Protection and Improvement District (SLPID). About 30 participated in the annual program Tuesday.
“We’re trying to just do outreach with all the younger people who are our stewards of the earth and teaching them that every little decision that they make has an impact whether it’s good or bad,” said Connolly.
Paul Smith’s Adirondack Watershed Institute sends a boat and stewards to teach participants about aquatic invasive species.
“Awareness is the absolute No. 1 thing for the program. The stewardship part really works,” said steward Tiger Smith. We do catch a lot of stuff coming into the lake, but we can’t be there all of the time, so teaching people about aquatic invasive species means we don’t have to do as much and that everybody is aware all the time everybody’s a steward, which is great.”
Smith’s station, called the Incredible Journey, described water molecules moving through the water cycle.
“What we are showing kids here is that it’s so much more complex than [what they know of the water cycle],” said Smith. “Snowpacks, glaciers, underground reservoirs the size of countries are all apart of the water cycle, including you and me and animals.”
SLPID and Paul Smith’s Adirondack Watershed Institute have partnered on a stewardship program in the past.
Saratoga Lake has four stewards who check all incoming and outgoing boats for aquatic invasive species in the summer.
“Saratoga Lake is such a busy lake,” said Connolly. “...it’s important to stop the spread of the aquatic invasive species because they are so damaging.”
Karl Hardcastle, who represents Stillwater on SLPID, has seen Saratoga Lake at its worst years ago.
The organizations website, http://slpid.org/content, shows how the lake has improved over the years.
“You can see the reports. We’ve had watershed studies. I mean there’s a lot of data on this lake,” said Hardcastle “...The clarity has gone up, and it’s good.”