By Deb Patterson
Recognition of three individuals who have given above and beyond of their time and talent and the announcement of preliminary plans for the Between The Lakes property were two of the highlights Saturday morning, July 29, at the Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation’s annual meeting. Approximately 160 attended the annual meeting to hear updates on projects and programs offered by the WACF.
Diana Castell, who served on the board for nine years mainly on the education committee and continues to volunteer in educational programs, was the only recipient of the 2017 Cattail Award present. Cattail Awards were also presented to Kenny Bolles who served on the ecology committee for eight years and helps with the eco-buoys at Johnson’s Bay among other activities; and Betsy Robie, another past board member, who served for nine years, and helped with sales of T-shirts for the canoe trips and other WACF memorabilia items.
Dan Ernst, architect with EarthSource, Fort Wayne, presented the proposed project for Between The Lakes property. He noted the seven-acre property with 1,600 linear feet of shoreline has numerous unique possibilities. He noted the old growth woods, wetlands, open areas, shoreline and channel. Ernst stated these areas are exciting as it can “provide a lot of educational opportunities.”
He noted the opportunities to restore the open areas to a native prairie, put in a new drive and pavilion where the homestead was with ample parking for buses, placement of an observatory off the channel to the north with a beach, install a boat launch for canoes and kayaks in the existing channel, restore the wetlands area by removing invasive species and manage the cattails. He also noted replacement of the cement seawall with glacial rock or a natural shoreline. Ernst reiterated numerous times the educational opportunities that would be available. “There is a lot you can do with this particular site.”
Sam Leman, board member, stated, “In the end I hope this to be an educational spot with a three-fourths mile trail for self guided tours and educational experience in a park like setting. Wish us luck.”
The project, which will be lengthy, will be done in phases. Ernst stated he envisioned starting with restoring the open areas to a native prairie and managing the wetlands. No dollar amount was noted for this project.