Stephen Craig with his innovative sampling pole.
What lake or pond do you monitor?
Province Lake in Effingham and Wakefield NH and Parsonfield ME.
How long have you been monitoring this waterbody and/or volunteering with VLAP?
I have been taking water samples for the past 7 years.
Background: Tell us about yourself: occupation/former occupation, how long have you lived (seasonally or year-round) on the lake? What are your interests?
I am an alumnus of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Bachelor of Science in Aviation Management. I worked in the US Government, Federal Aviation Administration, Air Traffic Control in the Flight Service option for 21 years in which 18 of those years were in management. One of our primary functions was Pilot Weather Briefing, so I know a bit about weather. This background will be a player later in my profile. My parents bought our property in 1952 and in 2003 my wife and I retired here. I have enjoyed my childhood summers on the lake, left it for a while through my college, military, and professional years, and then revisited it on our honeymoon in 1982 and have loved it ever since. My interests focus mainly around the lake being on the Board of Directors for water quality and weed watching. My wife, Mary, is very active with the Loon Monitoring program. Also, my wife and I maintain our private road summer and winter, and of course I am interested in weather.
What motivated you to start volunteering with VLAP?
My neighbor, Dick Thomas, used to take the lake samples and I used to tag along occasionally. He moved away in 2004 and he trained me to do the job. I have enjoyed taking the lake samples ever since.
How many other volunteers assist you with monitoring activities?
Mostly it is my wife as we take samples during the week and much of the lake is habited by weekenders. I have trained other volunteers so I will be able to pass the torch when the time comes.
What do you feel is the main threat to your lake or pond, or what is/are your biggest concerns?
The biggest concern to our lake is simple really – Pollution. Pollution can come from many forms such as watershed runoff, old or badly designed septic systems, erosion, exotic aquatic weeds, or weather (there’s that darn weather term again).
How has the data you have collected assisted your lake, pond or community?
By understanding the importance of water quality and how it helps the community prosper economically, for family enjoyment and health. Also, helping other landowners with issues that make for poor water quality.
What has been your greatest achievement through VLAP?
My greatest achievement would be testing the inlets for any possible contamination and correcting the problem before they become a greater problem.
What are your fondest memories about your lake or pond?
My fondest memories are when I was growing up; my family took summer vacations on the lake. Then it was taking summer vacations with my lovely wife and daughter.
What is your fondest memory of volunteer monitoring?
My fondest memory would be the water sample my wife and I tried to take on July 24, 2008. It began with a little rain in the early morning so I checked the weather radar. I noticed a line of thunderstorms approaching but wouldn’t arrive in our area until after noon. The morning turned real calm and rain had ended so we decided to head to the deep spot. Our house phone was not working so I called in to the lab and left a message from my cell phone as we headed out. The lake was so calm that we did not set the anchor. As we were filling the 2 meter bottles ripples appeared on the water so I set the anchor. Then rain started pelting us and the wind picked up even stronger. I told my wife this was not supposed to happen. The weather turned so bad we quit sampling and headed for the shore as the boat was now bouncing off waves. I looked at the weather radar and that line of thunderstorms moved faster then forecasted. After noon I left to go food shopping and my cell phone had a few voice mails from friends and family asking if we were all right. Then, as a drove down the hill, I saw all the devastation. Downed trees all over the place. I looked at the trees position on the ground and knew a tornado had done this – about a mile from our house! That’s what I call a fond and lasting memory.