Original Published on Jul 19, 2022 at 06:00
By Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
While you’re out there taking in the spectacular freshwater scenery, take a few pictures too.
July is Lakes Appreciation Month, and both the Government of Alberta and Living Lakes Canada are encouraging people to enjoy the natural splendor that surrounds us all.
“Lakes are a summer weekend destination where many Alberta families connect with nature and enjoy swimming, fishing, boating and water sports,” said Minister of Environment and Parks Whitney Issik in a press release.
Issik noted that the Government of Alberta’s Water for Life strategy has guided its commitments to manage and safeguard water resources since 2003.
“Over the coming year, we’re working with other sectors to renew the 10-year action plan. By collecting feedback from partners and learning from our successes and challenges, we’ll better inform our efforts toward managing lakes and furthering our goals of safe, secure drinking water, healthy aquatic ecosystems and reliable, quality water supplies for a sustainable economy.”
One way to show your appreciation of our plentiful lakes is to participate in a photography contest. That’s where Living Lakes Canada makes a splash. It hopes to bring more people into the fold of monitoring lakes and keeping tabs on how healthy they are.
“By simply taking a photo of their lake and capturing all of the biodiversity and the climate change impacts, which are becoming more visible on our freshwater lakes in Canada… we also have this opportunity for them to take that extra step and do temperature monitoring, look for invasive species, get more informed about the threats of aquatic invasive species, and then also the human impacts: pollution, algal blooms, increased development, and recreation as well, which are seen impacts on our lakes,” said Living Lakes Canada’s program co-ordinator Camille Leblanc.
Until July 31, people can submit their lake photos in three different categories: Most Biodiverse, Most Impacted and a Kids’ Category for children 12 and under. The online submission form can be found at lakeblitz.livinglakescanada.ca or sent by email to email@example.com.
All photo entries will be displayed in an online gallery on the website. That’s where members of the public can vote on their favourite pictures. There will be prizes for the three favourite photographers and to the judges’ three favourites as well.
Living Lakes Canada is a B.C.-based national non-profit that works towards the long-term protection of Canada’s freshwater bodies. It’s affiliated with Germany’s Global Nature Fund’s Living Lakes International, a global network whose mission is to enhance, protect, restore and rehabilitate freshwater areas everywhere.
Lakes aren’t just places to go fishing, Minister Issik added. They play a crucial part of vibrant ecosystems as habitats to a multitude of fish species. They also help to support a diverse range of wildlife.
“Conservation of our lakes is a shared responsibility,” she said.
“Alberta Environment and Parks works alongside municipalities, Indigenous knowledge keepers, non-profit organizations, watershed stewardship groups and local landowners. Together, we provide education, share watershed management practices, support water quality monitoring and help keep our lakes clean and free of invasive species.”
The Lake Biodiversity Photo Challenge is the sister event to the National Lake Blitz, where hundreds of community volunteers monitor their favourite lakes using monitoring tools to help track climate change impacts. Information on that can be found at lakeblitz.livinglakescanada.ca.
This item reprinted with permission from The Fitzhugh, Jasper, Alberta