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March 30. 2014 6:43PM

Winnipesaukee watershed association planning summer fundraiser

MEREDITH — The Lake Winnipesaukee Watershed Association is planning its first large fundraising event this summer and is seeking volunteers to help pull it together.

The event is a dinner and dance cruise for up to 500 passengers on the M/S Mount Washington to be held Sunday, June 29. The dance features live music by rock band Annie and the Orphans, a sunset dinner cruise, a silent auction and special exhibits featuring local artisans, crafts, services and activities.

“The goal of the event is to bring the community together to embrace the big lake and all the fun, excitement and opportunity the region has to offer, while benefiting lake protection efforts at the same time,” said Diane Hanley, the president of the board of directors at the Meredith-based Lake Winnipesaukee Watershed Association, a nonprofit organization that collaborates with other groups on watershed protection, management and planning.

LWWA Executive Director Patricia Tarpey, who inspired the “Love the Lake” cruise event, said officials at the M/S Mount Washington offered a discount to host an event on the ship — an ideal venue from which to appreciate the scenery and water quality of Lake Winnipesaukee.

Many volunteers, however, are needed to help organize, solicit items for the silent auction and sell tickets, among other tasks. Admission to the sunset cruise and dance is free for volunteers.

“We need your help now to ensure a successful event on June 29,” said Hanley. A meeting for volunteers has been scheduled for Wednesday at 3 p.m. at the LWWA office.

Hanley invited local businesses of all types to get involved; 20 to 30 vendor tables will be available at the “Love the Lake Fair,” held on board.

Those interested in attending the meeting or learning more about how to get involved can contact Hanley via e-mail at lovelakewinni@gmail.com, or by calling her at (603) 387-3429.

Tickets for the event go on sale May 1; admission is $60 per person, or $100 per couple. Guests can reserve a table for eight. Attire is casual. Children are welcomed, but require tickets. The M/S Mount Washington will start boarding at 5:30 p.m., departs at 6 p.m. and returns at 8 p.m.

Tarpey said the association works with other partners and communities on watershed management planning, including lake water monitoring with the UNH Cooperative Extension’s Lakes Lay Monitoring Program.

Monitors are trained in taking water samples and in carrying out various water quality tests at over 30 sampling sites on the lake, according to the association’s website. The information and samples from these monitors are collected and further analyzed at the UNH laboratory, producing a meaningful set of data from year to year.

The data may be used to detect early warning signals of potential problems.

Other ongoing programs include the Lake Winnipesaukee Tributary Monitoring, with project partners Jeff Schloss and Bob Craycraft from the UNH Center for Freshwater Biology and Cooperative Extension, and the North Country Resource Conservation & Development Council that provided office and administrative support.

Most recently, LWWA launched an educational outreach program called Wi-CAN to foster greater collaboration among the many entities involved in similar work, she said.

The association will also offer guided tours on a floating classroom — a pontoon boat. Up to 10 passengers at a time will board the boat for first-hand experience with water quality monitoring and sampling, Tarpey said.

“We’re hoping to market the floating classroom this season to the many summer camps in the region,” she added.

lmulkern@newstote.com


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