Friends of Messalonskee Lake Association will offer classes in kayaking, plant identification and watershed ecology to seniors 60 years and older in collaboration with Mid-Maine Regional Adult Community Education this summer. In addition to raising awareness about the importance of lake stewardship, this class is designed to create more access for those who may not have an easy way to get on the lake to enjoy the opportunities it affords such as birding and exercise. All equipment is provided, including open kayaks for easy entry and exit.
This is a short class on how to identify helpful, native plants versus harmful non-native plants (like Variable Leaf Milfoil) and how our actions influence the watershed overall will be followed by paddle techniques. Mike Guarino, a paddle Instructor and President of Friends of Messalonskee (FOM), believes that, “personal safety is paramount when it comes to having fun on the water”. FOM wants to encourage novice water-goers to participate in a paddle without fear of their safety; so paddlers will be suited with a PFD (personal floatation device), learn basic paddling safety, and paddle near shore to collect and identify various plants, while having an enjoyable and safe experience on the water. Given appropriate time and weather, we hope to have students back for an additional paddle before summer ends. This program is modeled on the Lake Stewards of Maine statewide Invasive Plant Paddler program. If participants enjoy the experience, then this program offers ways to stay involved.
FOM is excited to offer this program because we believe the long-term protection of our watershed starts with grass-roots environmental education. Even if you don’t live directly on the lake, your actions affect the health and quality of the lake. For example, the Messalonskee watershed covers 46 sq. miles. Streams and tributaries from the towns of Oakland, Belgrade, Sidney, Mt. Vernon, Readfield and Manchester drain into the watershed. This class will help you to understand how to be a steward of the wider environment in which you live. This program was funded by Roger N. Heald Fund, Maine Community Foundation. If you have questions please call Friends of Messalonskee at 207-618-8723. Student Limit of 8.
Prerequisite: Know the basics of swimming though we will be staying near the shore.