By Deb Patterson
SYRACUSE — The latest updates on what is happening in the waters of Syracuse and Wawasee lakes, accomplishments, projects and a preview of upcoming programs were presented Saturday evening, June 26, at a Lilly Center for Lakes & Streams social event.
The event was hosted at the home of the Frank Levinson family, Eli Lilly Road, Syracuse.
Frank and Becky Levinson, along with John and Linda Earnest, Steve and Sally Springer, Jim and Sarah Ruddell and Mark and Betsy Phillips, hosted the gathering that had close to 75 guests attending.
The Levinson home seemed to be fitting for the event. Not only has the family been around for 100 years, but Frank and Kristen Levinson Sr., were instrumental in the creation of Lilly Center for Lakes & Streams over 14 years ago, through Kosciusko Community Foundation and a partnership with Grace College.
Dr. Nate Bosch, the director, provided guests with the latest updates on studies on Syracuse and Wawasee that keep the two lakes clean, healthy, safe and beautiful. He touched on research, collaborative projects and education.
The highlight of the evening was the announcement of two new supporter groups at the center. The Prime Club and Founders Circle. The Prime Club recognizes the top supporters of the center, with recipients receiving a “pitcher pump” that was personalized. The Founders Circle is for a limited number of supporters who commit a legacy gift to the Lilly Center.
Bosch likened the pumps to the mission of the Lilly Center. Such water pumps have been used to produce clean water. In order for a pump to produce water, it needed priming. Thus the Prime Club. Yet you have to have your hand on the handle to prime and activate the pump. Using this analogy, Bosch invited everyone to put their hand on the handle to help the center in its endeavors.
Accomplishments over the past 14 years were highlighted. This included engaging over 45,000 K-12 students and the reception of the 2019 Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence in Outreach/Education. Other accomplishments included scholarships for environmental science, installation of stream sensors at Syracuse, Wawasee, Winona and Tippecanoe lakes with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Indiana Department of Natural Resources using that data for river flooding and lake levels; lake associations using the recommendations based on studies; E. coli and blue-green algae studies in which the Lilly Center is known as the key place for information.
The guests were also enlightened on the current status of the lake. Bosch noted the most current information on the water temperature and water clarity. He touched on algae and noted that anyone interested can go to the Lilly Center’s website and sign up for weekly microcystin toxin (blue-green algae) updates from the samples from 14 lakes and seven public beaches.
Future endeavors were also highlighted. This information focused on the three main areas of the Lilly Center — research, education and collaboration. Bosch also talked about how individuals and families can provide financial support for individual projects, such as K-12 field trips, scholarships and programs.
Dr. Bill Katip, president of Grace College, briefly reported on great things happening at Grace College, noting last year’s student enrollment was near a record high.
Those attending were able to receive the newest edition of “Your Lake Your Story” for Wawaee, Syracuse, Winona, the Tippecanoe and the Chapman lakes, as well as other Lilly Center publications.