Relax more this spring and summer. Doctor’s and limnologist’s orders. Really. Did you know that by doing less work on your shoreland property and spending more time enjoying it from a patio chair is good for your health, your property, and the lake?
Healthy lakes depend on “messy” shorelands with native vegetation growing wild along the bank. Wild vegetative shores treat stormwater runoff and keep the lake clean, while protecting property from storm damages. While taking it easy this summer and allowing your shore to “go wild,” you also will be supporting pollinator species, song birds, and aquatic wildlife.
Ecological designs, from no-mow zones to buffer plantings to bioengineering, are proven to contribute to higher human productivity, creativity, and well-being. When people are around nature, they feel better, live better, and produce more. So, it’s no surprise that biophilic campuses would be the choice design for top urban-based companies like Google, Facebook, Samsung, Apple, and Uber. And, the human benefits of spending time in natural settings is not new medical science. Since the 1980s, Shinrin-Yoku, or “Forest Bathing,” has been incorporated into the Japanese standard medical practice. Many studies show when surrounded by nature, people have a positive physiological reaction, leading to higher well-being, improved cognitive function, and enhanced creativity.
Google executives are fully aware that their company benefits when employees spend their lunch break along a wild, natural riparian area versus strolling along a sterile, pesticide treated, hot lawn. Protecting and restoring natural areas is a win-win for human and ecological health. So, relax, do less tidying up along your shore this spring and summer, and help protect your lake. Become Lake Wise.
How to Become Lake Wise
This summer, the Lake Wise Program, offered through the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, will be offering shoreland technical assistance for stormwater management and wildlife habitat enhancement. Lake Wise staff conduct assessments, according to the Lake Wise four categories: Driveway, Structure, Recreational Area, and Shorefront, and make suggestions for improving shorelands. Many of the Lake Wise solutions, or Best Management Practices (BMPs), are homeowner friendly and simple to act on, like creating “no-mow” zones. Other BMPS, like installing waterbars to control stormwater runoff from polluting the lake, may take more effort. Shoreland properties that exemplify lake-friendly management (and this can take a few years to reach, so don’t worry if you are just getting started on the Lake Wise track) will be awarded with the beautiful Lake Wise sign. Join the movement to protect your lake by learning more about lake-friendly shoreland management practices in the voluntary Lake Wise Program. For more information, contact Amy Picotte.