Adopt a Lake!

by Diane Tran | Jul 19, 2011
| 1 Comment

Summary:

While this idea is modeled after a currently existing state program, it is new to the world of water. The Adopt A Highway program has worked well for Mn/DOT and can be adapted to the nuances of managing bodies of water in Minnesota.

While many local community members may already feel a sense of personal connection to their body of water, they may not necessarily sense a personal responsibility for the shared community resource. Through publicly signing up to take action for beautifying, maintaining, and caring for it, they will feel more empowered to take the lead in preserving and conserving a local resource.

About You

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About You

First Name

Diane

Last Name

Tran

Country

United States, MN, Dakota County

City

About Your Organization

Organization Name

Organization Website

Your Idea

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Name your idea

Adopt a Lake!

Describe how you would use $15,000 to help your community become aware of and address water issues in Minnesota.

Minnesota boasts over ten thousand lakes, the headwaters of the mighty Mississippi River, and hundreds of thousands of active citizens. By developing a greater sense of personal ownership over these bodies of water, Minnesotans will be able to serve as the messengers for and leaders in water quality management and conservation.

I propose that we develop an "Adopt a Lake" or "Adopt a River" program modeled after Mn/DOT's "Adopt a Highway" program. This will be a public service program that enlists community organizations, faith groups, individuals, businesses, etc, in maintaining responsibility for a body of water. This includes helping to clean up litter, maintaining safe access, reporting to the appropriate officials when there is a challenge to be met, educating community members and those who access the body of water about water quality and care, and being overall guardians for the body of water.

This would be a voluntary endeavor, but could be incentivized by allowing signage for business or organizational promotion, providing small funds for beautification projects, supplying clean-up and litter removal gear, and more.

We would select a test run of 50 lakes and portions of rivers in the first year, in order to implement the program and test its feasibility. We would need to develop guidelines for the application to Adopt A Lake, develop 2 key campaign times throughout the year (Spring and Fall) in order to promote clean-up as well as education, and allow for an iterative learning process to understand how to better improve the program for participants as well as water quality improvement in the second year.

How do you define your "community"?. How are water issues affecting your community?

I have lived in St. Paul, Duluth, and now, the southern suburbs of the Twin Cities. Since I work and play all across our great state, however, I'm a proud Minnesotan who is happy to recognize that many issues, and water in particular, affect an entire region. Having traveled throughout a good deal of the Minnesota, I'm thrilled to call this place home!

Innovation

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Describe how your idea is creative.

While this idea is modeled after a currently existing state program, it is new to the world of water. The Adopt A Highway program has worked well for Mn/DOT and can be adapted to the nuances of managing bodies of water in Minnesota.
While many local community members may already feel a sense of personal connection to their body of water, they may not necessarily sense a personal responsibility for the shared community resource. Through publicly signing up to take action for beautifying, maintaining, and caring for it, they will feel more empowered to take the lead in preserving and conserving a local resource.

Impact

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Describe how how you expect your idea to make a difference in your community.

Because the Adopt a Highway program already has good name recognition and familiarity with Minnesotans, the Adopt A Lake spin will be fairly easy to understand and thus, more easily adopted.

I expect that the Adopt A Lake program will result in more cleanly bodies of water, free from litter and other unsafe hazards, as well as citizens who feel empowered to come together around a larger shared resource. The Adopt A Lake program will allow all those who understand that while it isn't any individual's fault that our lakes, streams, and rivers are dirty, it is our collective responsibility to take care of it. The Adopt A Lake program allows citizens one manageable way to begin to do that.

Sustainability and Growth

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Describe how your idea will "stick" in your community and how you think it could be repeated in other communities.

It will be valuable to target bodies of water across the state in order to get a sense for what works, given the size of lakes and their surrounding communities and conditions across the state. Periodically, and particularly during the Spring and Fall campaign seasons, groups and individuals who have opted to Adopt A Lake can come together, either virtually or in-person, to share ideas and challenges, brainstorm and celebrate, and build community with each other. These gatherings can allow for continuing education from state and regional water experts, team-building among Adopt A Lake groups, and evaluation of the overall program.

Because the focus of the program will go beyond merely cleaning up litter, but also into managing beautification or education projects in local communities, Adopt A Lake will give rise and voice to additional community leaders. These leaders can be champions for water quality and conservation, but may also begin to understand the linkages between other environmental concerns, community and civic leadership opportunities, and the importance of working across the state and region. Raising up these leaders and their new ideas and learnings from this process will be part of sustaining and growing the value of the Adopt A Lake effort.

Mikey Bang said: I think this is great. This way you can have more lakes to be beautify, given attention, preserved and cared of. - YOR Health Products about this Competition Entry. - 1874 days ago read more >

Diane Tran updated this Competition Entry. - 2802 days ago

Diane Tran updated this Competition Entry. - 2807 days ago

Diane Tran submitted this idea. - 2807 days ago