Seeing Palmer Lake filled with water doesn’t just mean something to the adults who live in the community. It means something to the countless children who up until two years ago went fishing in the lake or watched a fireworks display over the water.
And because these children want to see the lake restored they will be working this school year to help raise funds and spread the word for the Awake Palmer Lake committee, a committee formed by Palmer Lake businesses and residents to restore the lake.
The Lewis-Palmer Middle School eighth-grade blue team has chosen to get involved in Awake Palmer Lake as their service project. They have learned a lot about the lake from their teachers Suzanne Magerko, Rick Bainer and Earl Hammond.
Magerko said during a recent field trip, the students hiked up to the reservoirs above the town of Palmer Lake so the students could see where the town’s watershed is.
“We talked about the fact that the reservoirs used to help keep Palmer Lake filled, but that due to water rights issues, that is no longer allowed,” Magerko said.
She said afterward that the students were bussed to Palmer Lake so they could see how the lake has dried up. They discussed how it has negatively affected the area both ecologically and economically. Magerko said the students talked about the size of the lake and then walked around the lake counting their steps. Once back at school, the students converted their steps into measurements so they could estimate the area of the lake and the volume of water it could hold.
“Our teacher really cares about the lake,” eighth-grader Mario Facinelli said.
Facinelli and fellow classmate, Kevin Eells, care about the lake just as much. They recall many fun times they have had at the lake growing up.
“We would go out fishing and play on the playground and I played ice hockey on it,” Facinelli said.
“We grew up around it and care about it. The lake has always been a part of our community. It’s been a part of our lives growing up and we want it back,” Eells said.
Jeff Hulsmann, owner of O’Malley’s and member of the Awake Palmer Lake committee said he is thrilled that the students are getting involved.
“I look at it as it’s their lake. I think it’s terrific that the kids are getting involved in environmental issues,” Hulsmann said. “The awareness is important.”
Stacey Nolan, another member of the committee agrees. “I think the most important thing is awareness. If the students get involved their parents get involved and other students get involved.”
Nolan said she talks to people all the time that have no idea what is going on with the lake. By the students getting involved it helps create more awareness.
One fun activity that the whole family will enjoy and will help raise money for the committee is the upcoming haunted hayride at the lake. The event will take place starting at 6 p.m. on Oct. 31. The hayride is geared towards older children, but there will be spooky stories, face painting and candy for the younger ones beginning at 4 p.m. by the gazebo.
Nolan has enlisted the help of the LPMS students as well as high school students to dress up as zombies and help sell hot chocolate. The hay ride will be $8 but Nolan said the students will help distribute $2 off coupons.
The LPMS students hosted an ice skating night at the Colorado Sports Center in September and hope to host another one soon. The plan to make posters and write content for the Awake Palmer Lake website.