There is an epidemic in this nation that occurs everywhere fresh water exists. Blue/Green algae ! It is unsightly, foul smelling , deadly to some animals and liked to serious health conditions in humans exposed to it.
Not too many years ago , shortage of oil was considered the biggest threat to this planet. I submit that the shortage of clean water is a far greater threat. However, people in general and politicians in particular, seem unaware of this threat.
Lake Champlain is contained between two states ( VT&NY) and the Province of Quebec. You could travel from New York City to Montreal via Lake Champain and it's tributaries. A trip from Buffalo, NY to Montreal is also using water to water connections involving Lake Champlain. The lake's natural beauty and recognition as a world class fishery make it a major tourist attraction and economic benefactor to its contingent land masses.
Lake Champlain International (LCI) has launched a massive program to increase the awareness of the water's threat. The LCI Fathers Day Weekend Derby, which just turned 36 years old, is the oldest and largest fishing deby in the nation. This gives an opportunity to expose the challenges to clean water to a large group of people (5,000+ many years. There is constant contact with state and federal elected and appointed officials. A gubernatorial debate among 5 candidates on the single subject of clean water was orchestrated by LCI. Websites, social media, speeches, educational programs for schools regarding clean , water and candlelight vigils on the lake shore are a sample of the thrust of increasing awareness of clean water. Hopefully, that increase in awareness in the general public will spur a demand of clean water from elected and appointed officials.
James Ehlers and Juliana Dixon have come to present at Rutland High School's annual Global Issues Network conference every year for the last four years. They are both knowledgable and passionate, and are able to communicate their knowledge and passion to students. Their presentations have consistently been among those with the highest attendance and have been well-reviewed by students and adults who have attended. We look forward to working with them again in the future.
Juliana Dixon came to my school this spring to talk about Lake Champlain and water quality. She spoke to 4th, 5th, and 6th Graders. It was a great experience for us. It tied into our studies on ecosystem interdependence and really gave students some ideas to think about. Juliana herself was engaging with the students and had a presentation that kept them interested with hands-on activities to really bring to live the ideas she was presenting about run-off. She also struck a perfect balance between doom and gloom and what kids and their families can do. My students left the class cautiously optimistic, knowing that Lake Champlain is facing some major health challenges, and that some of them are due to actions that are specific to their own families or communities. I look forward to building on the discussion this presentation started at our school.
I love fishing the Lci! It gives me time to get out there with the family and catch fish. Here's one we entered last year.
LCI's mission is crucial for the state and the region: To protect our lake and our water. Without clean water nothing else is possible. LCI does a great job.
A huge part of why we live in Burlington is because of the lake....we play in and on it all summer long, and gaze at it longingly in the winter. We've been looking for an organization who we feel is really working hard to clean up Lake Champlain and try to preserve it for future generations. We think we've found it with LCI.
LCI is a great organization. I've been lucky enough to work with them as a student intern and it has been a very rewarding experience getting to meet so many wonderful people and do our part to help protect the lake!
Some of my greatest childhood meomories come from this beautiful place. Can't wait to make some with my kids.
Years ago, my three-year-old son stood for the first time on the shoreline of Lake Champlain and informed us all that "this is an ocean". His older sister immediately corrected him, explained that, no,this was a lake,, "the largest lake" she said "in the entire world".
Standing nearby was a young guy in cargo jeans who walked over to us and began chatting with my kids. He started talking about the Lake, about what was special about it, about how important it was for all of us. They asked some questions and I was amazed, both at this knowledge and his patience with my kids. He told them that he worked with some people who were trying to make Lake Champlain even better, even cleaner, even more fun for everyone. His name, he told us, was James.
And so now, all these years later, I see a photograph taken a week ago...it’s this very same fellow, James Ethlers, and he is sitting in Senator Bernie Sanders Office. They are talking about clean water... and another photo from a few hours later, James talking with Senator Pat Leahy. About clean water.
In fact, now that we have found him again, we see that he is everywhere working for an organization called Lake Champlain International...and doing what he did for my kids so many years ago..telling them about how to make Lake Champlain even better, even cleaner, even more fun for everyone. He is, I learn, the Executive Director for LCI. He is at the Statehouse, at elementary schools, busy providing articles for newspapers, talking on his radio program, defending clean water on social media, rallying, demonstrating. And working with staff to produce media of all types for the rest of us to use. Wed site and Facebook Page, gather Twitter followers, and on and on and on.
Oh, and he has many followers, this fellow James Ethlers. And many converts. One of his first converts, I happen to know, used to think that Lake Champlain was an ocean. But now, as a student at Saint Michael’s College, studying the Environmental Science, he knows better.
Imagine that...a young guy talks on a lakeshore with a couple of little kids...and something incredible happens.
As a grassroots organizer for a national conservation group, I appreciate the collaboration with the Lake Champlain International community. Their outreach with the sportsmen community is a key asset in our campaigns to protect natural resources. Furthermore, their bold advocacy efforts are essential ingredients countering the attack on environmental policy.
LCI represents many Vermonters and pushes for clean water. They are an advocate group that works educating the public about city and town polluters within the state and identifies those incidents. They also pressure towns / cities / state government to improve the water quality and challenges them to raise the bar with improvements to the infrastructure. They also work trying to make farms accountable for fertilizer / manure run-off with videos of those incidents to show people where those sources occur. There goal is for a cleaner Lake Champlain and inland lakes and streams in Vermont / NY / Quebec.
LCI is the leader in our area on keeping our land and water safe and drinkable. They go above and beyond for our community. Their endless efforts are result to many great things here in VT.
Thank you LCI for all you do and have done for our great earth.
LCI has a very difficult Job, and the people on this team absolutely go above and beyond for our benefit. I thoroughly enjoy my experiences with their events and look forward to continuing attending. My friends and family are long time participants. Thank you for taking care of our basin.
I have been volunteering for LCI since November, and I'm so grateful for the opportunity. Juliana has been so patient and helpful to me, and everyone in the office always makes me feel welcome and appreciated. I'm inspired by their tireless dedication to clean water and proud to be a part of the organization!
I am a Girl Scout troop leader and my troop is working on a service learning curriculum that revolves around water. I had James come and talk to the girls about the lake because I know he is very knowledgeable and would help inspire the girls with information and concrete actions that they could take to help make our lake better. James's presentation was perfect for them and they were all very engaged. He had great visuals as well as lots of interaction with the girls. He left us with some materials that will help us at a future meeting. I've heard from parents that their girls are already encouraging them to become "Blue" with steps they learned from James. I highly recommend LCI and James Ehlers if you are looking for a great way to teach children about issues facing Lake Champlain.
LCI works very hard to clean up Lake Champlain for the environment's sake and for the sake of all who live near, work near or on, and use our lake for recreational purposes. It supplies drinking water to thousands of people who live near it. Lake Champlain supports a variety of wildlife in and near it. It is vital that we support LCI in helping them to clean up areas of the lake and get legislation passed so that polluters will stop and would-be polluters will think before dumping toxins into our precious and fragile water.
No one works harder at ensuring that we focus on clean water. Lake Champlain is our most important asset, and it seems that Lake Champlain International is the only organization that is fighting to keep it clean! Thanks for all that you do!
I have been a Let's Go Fishing Instructor for many years now and have recently started working with James and his staff at LCI with The Boys and Girls Club of Burlington, The King Street Center and Spectrum Youth and Family Services. We had an event this past summer where the kids visited a fish hatchery and fished for several hours and then learned how to clean and prepare their catch followed by a picnic where the some of the kids had fresh fish for the first time. The second event, The Lake Supper, was just a few weeks ago where the kids helped me prepare several different dishes all consisting of fish from Lake Champlain. The dinner was well attended and the kids worked hard showing a genuine interest in the food itself and the fact that it all came from Lake Champlain.
I work with volunteer groups all over the country and these events are two of the most special and rewarding things I have ever done as a volunteer, angler or chef. I look forward to continuing this relationship with The LCI and helping to educate the kids of these groups and others on the waters and fish of Lake Champlain.
I have been an instructor with The Let's Go Fishing Program for many, many years now and it's one of the most rewarding programs I've ever been associated with. The educational efforts by this program and the LCI in general are second to none. As an angler and Vermont resident, I feel very fortunate to have the LCI as a teacher, protector and advocate for Lake Champlain and I look forward being involved with them for a long time.