Education and advocacy are the tools we use to fulfill our mission of lake protection. But as an organization, we recognize the need for more research on our lakes. In response to this need, we have created the Maine Lakes Science Center. Plans are continuing to move forward on this dynamic project, which will not only provide a hub for research, but will also allow us to expand our educational capabilities. Activities have begun at the Center and we hope to have it fully operational by 2016. In the meantime, what exactly is the Maine Lake Science Center and why do we need it?
What is it?
The Maine Lake Science Center is located on a 16-acre parcel of land in Bridgton, abutting Pondicherry Park. An existing building on the site has been renovated to serve as researcher housing, a meeting room, laboratory, education center, and a welcome center for the park.
The Center will serve as a hub for world-class lake research by providing support to researchers in Maine and beyond who come to study our lakes. In addition, the property will allow us to expand our educational offerings by introducing field training and classroom work through an on-site educational center.
Forty-three years of work has led us to conclude that Maine lakes are degrading because of development in the watershed and climate change. The urgency to act is expressed best by this quote by the Maine Lakes Society: “Lake scientists estimate that we have less than two decades to make the changes required to preserve our lakes – or we will lose them forever.”
Maine lakes and their watersheds comprise much of the land area in a majority of Maine towns, yet few resources have been devoted to their study and protection. The Maine Lake Science Center will be a powerful voice for change throughout Maine and beyond. We view the Center as the next logical step in LEA’s development and a rare opportunity to accomplish our mission before irreversible damage is done.
How will it work?
The Science Center is a division of LEA that is governed by its own board of directors, the Lake Science Advisory Board. This board consists of university and college professors, scientists and lake managers from across the state and country. For more information about the board, view the Lake Science Advisory Board White Paper.
The Science Center works under the guidance of this board to actively pursue projects that will greatly enhance our understanding of water bodies in New England, using the lakes and ponds of our area as study sites. In this way, the breadth of knowledge in the field in general will grow, and at the same time LEA will acquire some of the most detailed information attainable on the lakes and ponds in this region.
The Center works closely with the academic community, other caretakers of lake and watershed study sites across the country, and non-profit organizations with similar goals. Projects will continue to be sought out that not only give us more information about our lakes and ecosystems but also on how people use, understand, and interact with them on all levels.
Map showing location of Maine Lake Science Center and proposed trail within Pondicherry Park.