A volunteer for the Alberta Lake Management Society checks lake-water quality.
Many of us look at a lake in summer and see peace and inspiration—a place for boating, swimming or just a little bit of relaxation. For others, the relationship goes much deeper. When Max Abraham looks out across Saskatchewan’s Pike Lake, about 20 minutes south of Saskatoon, he sees home.
“You look at it a little differently when you live there,” he says. Abraham and his neighbours take pride in the habitat they share with walleye, pike, perch and other species. These folks recognize that their lake is a vital resource that sustains wildlife and provides food as well as opportunities for recreation—and they work hard to keep it that way.
Abraham, a retired school principal with a passion for the outdoors and the environment, does his part with the Pike Lake Cottage and Watershed Association. As a former president of the association, he has volunteered alongside his community to monitor water levels, rehabilitate the shoreline and raise funds for their initiatives. They also collaborate with the water security agency and scientific community to study the lake and participate in watershed planning. All these projects rely on data, mostly collected by Abraham and other residents. “Almost everyone who lives out here has been a volunteer at some point,” he says.
Across Canada, volunteer stewards play an essential role in their communities. They dedicate time and knowledge to ensure that the ecological health of lakes, rivers and waterways is preserved. They advocate, fundraise and do community outreach—or become citizen scientists monitoring algae bloom and invasive species, measuring levels and testing water quality.