Stewardship Showcase: Show, Don't Just Tell
In this Stewardship Showcase we feature a community group that is leading by example with their conservation efforts in Lac La Nonne.
Landowners want to do what’s best for their local watershed and practice conservation in their own backyards. But many don’t know where to start. That’s where the Lac La Nonne Enhancement and Protection Association (LEPA) comes in. Providing accessible public education and encouraging biodiversity in the Lac La Nonne area, they ensure the lake will be there to be enjoyed for generations.
LEPA has been dedicated to promoting responsible land management on Lac La Nonne since 1985. Over the last 30 years, they’ve accomplished a lot – most recently, constructing an educational centre on the lake in Klondike Park. The educational centre serves as a launching point for the conservation work the group has dedicated themselves to doing.
Through public education, LEPA leads by example in promoting stewardship in the community surrounding Lac La Nonne. With the support of a Watershed Stewardship Grant from Land Stewardship Centre in 2019, LEPA expanded their public education and communications efforts.
While the grant enabled LEPA to modernize their website and level up their communications, they didn’t stick to just tried and true public education work through posters and social media. These are just part of LEPA’s ongoing community outreach and education. Another huge component of this work is leading by example. By addressing the problem of invasive species in riparian areas, pulling weeds and planting native species that benefit the local landscape, LEPA has set an example for residents in the area.
“By using native vegetation in the landscaping of the park, we show residents that native vegetation is aesthetically pleasing and beneficial to local flora and fauna,” LEPA’s president Rod Kause says.
With help from the County of Barrhead, Highway 2 Conservation, Cows and Fish and the Athabasca Watershed Council, LEPA harnessed volunteer power to plant native species in the area around the lake and remove invasive Canada thistle, white cockle and escaped ornamentals that had taken hold in the riparian area.
They also made use of the newly constructed Klondike Park Educational Centre to post signage about conservation. The signs, developed with the support of the Athabasca Watershed Council, provide valuable context to the work going on in the park and the riparian area around Lac La Nonne, and promote sustainable recreation on the lake.
But what generated the most interest around the community was the boots-on-the-ground, get-your-hands-dirty work of conservation. Seeing volunteers pulling weeds and planting native species has encouraged the community to do the same on their own properties.
The work of conservation requires all of us to walk the talk – to not just tell others how important the watershed is, or how destructive invasive species can be, but to mobilize and address these problems around the lake, setting an example for the whole community.
None of this valuable conservation work would be possible without partnerships.
“Without the Watershed Stewardship Grant, we would not have been able to enhance the park in order to provide educational, physical and recreational examples of what responsible lake enjoyment looks like to residents and visitors alike. Enhancements to the park will be around for people to enjoy for years to come,” Rod adds.
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