SYRACUSE — The Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation hosted its fourth annual Tree Lighting Party to celebrate a successful year with supporters and to welcome in a new year of opportunities. The party was held at Ruddell Pavilion, located on the Levinson and LaBrosse Lakes and Wetlands Educational Center property, 11586 N. SR 13, Friday, Nov. 30.
There was a good crowd of volunteers, board members, residents and other supporters who gathered inside the warmed pavilion to welcome one another. When the heaters weren’t enough, visitors turned to the table of hot cider, wine, chili, ham and beans and more to warm their hands and stomachs.
Good food, company and conversation combined with timely Christmas songs and glowing strings of lights fashioned an inviting party. Many visitors happily attended the cozy celebration and have been doing so since the WACF started putting the event on.
“I just appreciate what they do,” commented Kathleen Johnston. “We come to most of the events and volunteer when we can to support them.”
David Brandes, a former WACF board chairman, shared a few empowering words with those present. He spoke of how the WACF is about stewardship and protecting the watershed from harmful chemicals that could be detrimental to the water in and around Syracuse.
While Syracuse has come a long way in water quality, the WACF is continuing to move forward to improve and prioritize hot spots.
A comprehensive study has been designed to take samples from the nearby streams that are inflowing to Lake Wawasee as well as the outflow from Syracuse Lake. The intensive study will take place daily during months when agriculture production will be at its greatest, to catch any harmful chemicals.
The project will last for three years and will analyze over 2,000 samples each year to ensure water safety. The project will also provide statics of levels of different chemicals and nutrients that occur in the lakes.
“There’s an old saying,” Brandes told the crowd. “If you love something, you must protect something. If you love your home, you must protect your home. The water is part of our home.”