When young Sofia Faryniarz made a beeline for the “Islands” Discovery Cabinet in the LCBP’s Resource Room, the program’s prime watershed education space reached a major milestone. With Sofia and her father Luke’s visit on a snowy Sunday in March, the Resource Room counted a half million visitors since opening in May of 2003. To celebrate the occasion, the LCBP awarded the pair an Adirondack activity guide, a Lake Champlain photographic history, and a family cruise on the Spirit of Ethan Allen III.
On the top floor of ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain on the Burlington waterfront, beside the University of Vermont Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory, the Resource Room showcases the LCBP’s watershed partnerships. With a focus on protecting water quality and ecosystems in New York, Vermont and Québec, a stewardship message is central to everything in the Resource Room.
Visitors of all ages are welcomed with hands-on activities, natural objects, and live ECHO animal “ambassadors”. In a light-filled space, exhibits and a lake and watershed library are framed by views of the Lake and mountains. Staff and volunteers greet visitors and present programs that include watershed and wetland demonstrations, live plankton viewing, aquatic insects and ecology, and identification of invasive species.
In addition to ECHO guests, the Resource Room hosts students, teachers, camps, researchers, and visiting organizations. Each year, more than 200 students in University of Vermont Natural Resources classes tour ECHO and take part in LCBP presentations.
LCBP’s State of the Lake report and the goals of lake management are central to this outreach. Visitors seek out news and research, watershed groups, volunteer opportunities, and lake-friendly lawn and garden tips. The room also has student and teacher resources, microscopes, videos, posters, guidebooks, and maps.
The Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership is also highlighted in Resource Room displays and materials. Visitors learn the story of the Basin’s Indigenous people, past and present, and the region’s pivotal role in American history. Recent CVNHP exhibits have featured Lake Champlain’s Atlantic salmon, the struggle for women’s suffrage, and the 50th anniversary of the groundbreaking Clean Water Act.
The Resource Room library has grown to reflect the diversity of natural and human communities in the Lake Champlain region. To help break down barriers to this information, free visitor passes are available.
For twenty years, the LCBP Resource Room has encouraged exploration and action to protect Lake Champlain. Thank you, Sofia, for helping usher in a new generation of lake stewards!
Resource Room staff are available to answer questions about Lake Champlain by email firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone (802) 864-1848 ext. 109, and in person at ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain.
The LCBP Resource Room is open the same hours as ECHO. Free Resource Room passes (does not include admission to ECHO) are available to visit the room for research. Call the Resource Room in advance to schedule an appointment.