WARSAW — There are more than 23 square miles of water and 100 lakes in Kosciusko County and the Center for Lakes and Streams hopes to take care of it with programs run by sponsorships.
The CLS runs on three types of programs: K-12, lakes and research. All three run on corporate sponsorships and personal donations, since the CLS is a nonprofit.
The K-12 programs help students in Kosciusko County learn more about protecting the environment. “Organizations can sponsor things like an aquarium in a classroom, an art contest or a field trip,” said Madisson Heinl, communications specialist.
Contributions made to the CLS can also be directed to lakes programs and will fund events like the annual Lakes Festival. “Organizations that want to be recognized as caring for the community will usually end up signing up to sponsor us,” Heinl said. “We partner with the Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation and other environmental organizations.”
Finally, the CLS has a program dedicated to researching lakes in Kosciusko County. This research program samples lakes every two weeks and in the summer, it jumps to 20 lakes per week. Donations fund equipment and labor for this research.
“We have a chemical spill response system,” Heinl said. “This past year, we have had five chemical spills in Kosciusko County. We send samples to a research facility to be analyzed and we release information on them.”
“We are totally funded by donors,” Heinl said, “and we have just finished a lake economic impact study, trying to figure out how much lakes bring to the county.” The study concluded more than $200 million is brought in every year through lakes.
“Lakes are a really big part of our economy, and we want to make sure they are clean and safe,” Heinl concluded.
To donate to the CLS, you can visit its donation website. Corporate sponsorships and personal donations are accepted.