Aug 22, 2012 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
The Skaneateles Lake Association recently received a $10,000 donation from the family of a deceased local man who loved the lake and would have wanted to help preserve its purity and character. The money, officially called the David “Lee” Hardy Memorial Fund, will be used for education and stewardship programs to help keep invasive species out of Skaneateles Lake.
“We’re very excited,” said Bob Werner, chair of the SLA lake monitoring committee. “So far, the money has gone to students from Skaneateles High School and the environmental club who have been working as our stewards [at boat ramps]. They’ve done a wonderful job.”
David “Lee” Hardy was a Skaneateles man who died in 2004 at age 24 after a four-wheeler accident. His family received thousands of dollars in donations from friends and community members to create a memorial fund in his name. Although the family knew they wanted the money to be used for something that was meaningful to Lee, “We had been trying to figure out what to do with it ever since,” said Nick Hardy, Lee’s brother.
There were two events that turned the Hardy family toward the SLA. Lee and Nick’s mother, Janice Hardy, saw a sign for the SLA and she immediately thought the lake and its future would be a great choice for the use of the fund. “Lee and his friends just loved the lake and they used the lake within an inch of its life,” she said.
Serendipitously, Nick, who works at the Skaneateles Marina, last summer went out onto the lake to assist a stranded boater. The boater turned out to be Werner, whose engine had died while he was out conducting his annual milfoil survey of the lake. Hardy and Werner got to talking about milfoil and the SLA, and Hardy had already gotten to know some of the SLA’s milfoil removal workers through his job at the marina, as well as SLA members Fran and Hamilton Fish.
Werner and Hardy had some follow-up meetings, which included SLA President Paul Torrisi, and ultimately Nick and Janice Hardy decided the SLA was the worthy cause they had been seeking for the memorial fund.
“My brother, just like rest of my family, grew up on the lake, and trying to protect the lake and keep it nice is something he cared a lot about,” Nick Hardy said.
The $10,000 David “Lee” Hardy Memorial Fund will be used to help support the SLA’s lake stewardship program, which will educate the public and seek to prevent invasive species such as milfoil, hydrilla and Asian clams from invading Skaneateles Lake.
While the SLA’s milfoil eradication project has been ongoing since 2007, its lake stewardship program only began this past July. They now have trained attendants at all lake boat launch sites to educate and approach boaters about lake contamination and removing possible invasive species from boats before they are launched. The group, in cooperation with the town, is also preparing information signage to have at each lake entry point, and perhaps in the future boat cleaning stations.
The Hardy family presented the check to the SLA in July.
The David “Lee” Hardy Memorial Fund is not a static account but can be augmented at any time by further donations, Nick Hardy said.
“We’re hoping this gets more publicity to the fund, and the SLA can set it up so more people can donate, he said.
Werner said anyone who would like to donate to the David “Lee” Hardy Memorial Fund can write the check to the Skaneateles Lake Association but indicate on the check memo line that the money is intended for the fund.
More information on the SLA can be found at skaneateleslake.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.