080113 8th Annual Swim to Benefit Loons set for Friday (420 w/3 col 2012 Finish)

MOULTONBOROUGH — On Friday August 2, beginning at 6:30 a.m., 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.

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 generously offered the use of its boat to accompany the swimmers across the lake.

The 8th Annual Swim is a fundraiser to benefit the Loon Preservation Committee's Squam Lake Loon Initative, an ongoing effort to increase monitoring, research, management and outreach to change the fortunes of Squam's loons. Since 2005, Squam Lake has seen a dramatic decline in its number of loon pairs and an average of fewer than three loon chicks raised per year, not nearly enough to maintain its 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.

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

This year, funds raised through "The Swim" will allow LPC 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 crayfish (loon food) for contaminants; educate lake users to encourage a culture of respect and appreciation for loons; and continue its intensive management to help loons cope with their challenges.

For more information on the Squam Lake Loon Initiative or to make a donation, visit http://www.loon.org/squam-lake-study.php or call the Loon Preservation Committee at 603-476-5666.

The swimmers have been training throughout the summer for this event, and the public is invited to the Sandwich Town Beach at 11:30 a.m. to celebrate with them as they complete their journey. The Loon Preservation Committee thanks local businesses for donating food and drinks for the celebration.

The Loon Preservation Committee monitors loons throughout the state as part of its mission to restore and maintain a healthy population of loons in New Hampshire; to monitor the health and productivity of loon populations as sentinels of environmental quality; and to promote a greater understanding of loons and the natural world.



Swimmers celebrate completion of the seven-mile swim from Holderness to the Sandwich Town Beach last year. (Courtesy photo)