The Finger Lakes Regional Watershed Alliance (FLRWA) will honor Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association volunteer Maura Toole with its 2021 Citizens’ Award. This award is presented to an individual who makes a significant contribution to the alliance’s cause to protect the water quality of the Finger Lakes. Maura’s leadership efforts to create the first Lake Life Awareness Week, May 2-7, 2021, was the main impetus for this award.
This week’s goal, successfully completed, was to educate and inspire residents of the Finger Lake watershed, local governments and businesses to adopt lake-friendly practices that will help protect and preserve the lakes. Finger for sustainable water quality, recreational use and commercial vitality of tourism.
“Maura, hands down, was a vital part in establishing the Lake Friendly Living Coalition of the Finger Lakes as our founding team organizer,” said Frank Moses, Executive Director of the Skaneateles Lake Association. “She has been at the forefront of the synergy of watershed protection leadership across the Finger Lakes, which continues to improve every day through her unwavering dedication.”
During that first year, Maura led representatives of lake associations through the difficult times of the first months of 2021 and created the Coalition of the Finger Lakes via the zoom medium. The group is made up of a member of each lake association, from west to east, Honeoye, Canandiagua, Keuka, Seneca, Cayuga, Owasco, Skaneateles and Otisco. The 8th Conesus Lakes Association worked on their own kind of friendly lake life, promoting the goals Maura presented to the FLRWA Board of Directors in April 2020.
The Coalition under Maura Toole worked closely to develop and execute all of the essential components of an expert-led webinar series available in the Finger Lakes during Awareness Week. Zoom technology has become an educational medium to reach the citizens of the Finger Lakes region. Almost 500 people participated in the daily webinars. The nine expert-led webinars are still available for viewing on the FLRWA website, www.flrwa.org/lake-friendly-living. The webinars covered topics such as home tips, climate change, citizen science, specific garden maintenance, hemlock woolly aphid, and sustainable native planting and vineyard practices.
The FLRWA Citizen Award was created by Board Member Don Cook representing Honeoye Lake a year ago. He noted that the award was created “to honor people who have given of their time and energy to improve the water quality of the Finger Lakes… very creative, talented and hardworking people.
FLRWA President Margie Creamer hosted a luncheon at Parker’s Grille in Geneva, NY to present the award to Maura.