Swimming for loons

Seven Squam Lake swimmers to raise funds to aid loons

Special to the Union Leader
July 31. 2013 8:35PM
The 2012 Swim Team included members, from left to right: Mark Longley, Wendy Van de Poll, Louise Utzinger, Rick Van de Poll, Celeste St. Pierre, Kit Kilbourn and Rose de Mars. Swimmer Chip Broadhurst is not pictured. Longley and the Van de Polls will swim again this Friday. (COURTESY)

MOULTONBOROUGH - A team of seven swimmers will swim the seven-mile length of Squam Lake - from the Squam Channel in Holderness to the Sandwich Town Beach - to raise funds for loon preservation.

This 8th annual swim, set for Friday, will raise funds for the Loon Preservation Committee's Squam Lake Loon Initiative, according to Senior Biologist/Executive Director Harry Vogel of the Loon Preservation Committee in Moultonborough.

The initiative is an ongoing effort to increase monitoring, research, management and outreach to change the fortunes of Squam's loons.

According to Vogel, Squam Lake has seen a dramatic decrease in the number of loon pairs since 2005, and an average of fewer than three loon chicks raised per year, not nearly enough to maintain the loon population. Three adults banded in previous years did not survive to return to the lake this summer, and loons on Squam have only hatched two chicks so far this season.

The 2013 Swim Team includes Wendy Van de Poll, Rick Van de Poll, Lisa Davy, Rose de Mars, Carol Fink, Susan Hoag and Mark Longley. Rockywold Deephaven Camps has offered the use of its boat to accompany swimmers across the lake.

Since 2005, "The Swim" has become a much anticipated yearly event in the Lakes Region and has raised close to $100,000 to support the Loon Preservation Society's research, management and educational efforts to benefit Squam Lake loons and to recover a healthy population of loons on the lake.

The funds raised through this year's swim will allow the committee to extend its field season on the lake; test eggs from failed nests for contaminants; continue banding and monitoring the health of Squam's loons; expand its research into the causes of declines, including testing sediments and loon food for contaminants and to continue education and management programs.

The swimmers have been training throughout the summer for the event. The public is invited to the Sandwich Town Beach at 11:30 a.m. to celebrate as they complete their journey.For more information on the Squam Lake Loon Initiative or to make a donation, please visit www.loon.org/squam-lake-study.php or call the Loon Preservation Committee at 476-5666.



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