A recent gift to Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ Finger Lakes Institute kicks off a challenge to establish an endowed summer student research position in partnership with Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association (SLPWA), a citizen-led watershed protection group.
Based on the rich history and ongoing engagement between SLPWA and the FLI, the goal of the challenge is to raise at least $100,000 by the end of 2022. This will then provide approximately $5,000 per year in perpetuity for student intern work.
Established in 2019 with a lead $20,000 gift from G. Mark and Patricia Van Doninck, the eventual endowment will support students researching water quality issues influencing the health of Seneca Lake.
The Van Donincks’ gift and the launch of the fundraising challenge come amid ongoing efforts to complete a Nine Element Plan that brings together local FLI partners, including SLPWA, the Seneca Watershed Inter-municipal Organization (SWIO) and Keuka Lake stakeholders. Jim and Lois Carter, longtime SLPWA members, recently announced a $10,000 gift to the endowment as well.
Among recent initiatives, the FLI currently conducts screening of harmful algal bloom samples for SLPWA’s Seneca Lake Shoreline Monitoring program. Additionally, the new Seneca Watershed Steward position, supported by New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation, is based at the FLI.
“We want to invest in science and support water quality research with our longstanding partners at HWS,” says SLPWA President Rick Weakland. “The health of Seneca Lake is critically important to the health and economic well-being of our Seneca Lake communities.”
“We recognize the importance of shared stewardship of Seneca Lake with our regional partners and look forward to recruiting highly motivated HWS students to conduct research on local watershed and water quality issues,” says FLI Director Lisa Cleckner.
Until the $100,000 goal is reached, the FLI will provide support for a summer research student to conduct work in the Seneca Lake watershed for each of the next four years.
For more information or to support the Pure Waters Summer Research Fund Term Endowment, please contact Jerry Buckley P’15, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations and Legislative Affairs, at 315-781-3701.