Winter Haven City Commission Declares July as Lakes Appreciation Month
by James Coulter
With more than 50 lakes within its Chain of Lakes, it only seemed natural Winter Haven would recognize the month of July as Lakes Appreciation Month. During their meeting on Mon. July 10, Winter Haven City Commissioners presented an official proclamation recognizing July as Lakes Appreciation Month.
The proclamation read: “Whereas, Winter Haven, Florida, as part of a global community desires to take action to create positive environmental change…and whereas the City of Winter Haven has taken the lead in protecting and restoring water quality to its lakes…I Bradley T. Dantzler, Mayor of the City of Winter Haven, Florida, do hereby proclaim July 2023, as Lakes Appreciation Month in the City of Winter Haven and urge all citizens to visit a lake and consider what they can do to contribute to a healthy and sustainable future.”
Lake Appreciation Month was started in 1998 by The North American Lake Management Society (NALMS) to, according to its website, “raise awareness about the value of lakes, and access educational materials on lakes and lake ecology.”
Spokespeople from the city’s Lakes Advisory Committee attended to speak on behalf of the proclamation. One spokesperson spoke glowingly about the city’s many lakes and the importance of conserving and protecting them through official events such as this.
“There is nowhere else in the country where it means more than our Chains of Lakes City,” she said. “Our lakes are the most valuable and unique natural feature. We have a lovely interesting renovated downtown that matches any other city in Central Florida, but those other cities do not have the Chain of Lakes to tie it together.”
She urged the local community to read the 2022 Annual Lakes Report from the city’s Natural Resources Division: “I strongly urge our community to start by reading the executive summary and then concentrate on favorite lakes. If a person cares and understands a lake, there is a great chance that person will protect that resource.”
Todd Jennings, another representative from the Lakes Advisory Committee, offered various suggestions on how residents can help and appreciate their lakes. He recommended organizing a lakes appreciation night at a local eatery, hosting a lake cleanup, and even painting and photographing your local lake.
“You can enhance the Florida summer with Lake activities like boating swimming and fishing to build a deeper appreciation for our lakes,” he said. “If you are a natural enthusiast, go photographing, if you are artistic, draw or paint a lake for your enjoyment.”