Residents gathered on a cool autumn day to meet neighbors around a warm fire, press cider, and celebrate lake-friendly gardeners while learning about the health of the lake. In attendance were several dozen community members: teachers, master gardeners, city and county employees, business leaders, and concerned citizens who all shared one thing in common: a love of their community and a desire to learn and, in turn, lead the way toward a healthier lake.
Held at a private venue on the south shore of Lake Stevens, the backdrop was a powerful focal point for conversations and presentations about the state of the lake and what residents can do to help this treasured resource.
A highlight of the event occurred when attendees and organizers conversed about the challenges and opportunities to work together for a healthier, less polluted lake. Some long-time residents noted how far the health of Lake Stevens has progressed from the days when pea-green algae blooms were the norm. While most were optimistic about the current state and stark improvements from past decades, some voiced concern over the high cost of the alum treatments and worried it wasn’t a sustainable long-term solution. They agreed that it would take all residents being educated and more mindful of the ways they contribute to pollution in order to collectively achieve a lasting, cost-effective solution.
To close the night, the City of Lake Stevens presented their 1st Annual Cascade Garden Award to celebrate homeowners who’ve created beauty and visual appeal with their lake-friendly landscaping. Mary Fox and Darlene Joy Brawford were finalists and Karl Slomchinski, a Snohomish County Master Gardener, was distinguished as the 2018 winner. Slomchinski practices lake friendly gardening – including chemical free yard-care, composting, and utilizing diverse native and drought tolerant plants. Additionally, in the last year, he adopted a swale in the right-of-way in front of his house that he’s restored with mulch and thousands of plants.
Celebrating these lake-friendly homeowners ended the night in a positive spirit – exemplifying the actions we can all take to make a difference for the health of the Lake. And, even if you’re not a gardener there are plenty of lake friendly actions you can take to make a difference – checking and fixing any car leaks, picking up after your pets, using a commercial car wash, and skipping the joyous but problematic ritual of feeding ducks.
To learn more and be a part of the conversation, visit ilovelake.org.
Thank you to the following for making this event possible:
Lake Stevens Brewing Company for providing their Lakeside Blonde Ale
Laura Lee Elder and Ken Ploeger for volunteering
Laura Ridell, Terry Myer and Joel Bockovich for bringing the cider press
The Lawns to Lettuce gleaning crew for the cider apples
Sam and Mariah Low for hosting this event
Speakers: Leah Everett, Stormwater Technician with the City of Lake Stevens, Council Member and Lake Stevens resident, Sam Low, Terry Myer, manager of the Lake Stevens Chamber of Commerce and Down to Earth Community Gardens, and Laura Goff, Outreach Specialist with Snohomish Conservation District.
And, last but not least, all of the I Love Lake stewards doing their part to protect Lake Stevens