In the spring of 2021, a grant from the Ralph C. Vonnegut Jr. Fund was awarded to the Lake Maxinkuckee Environmental Fund to purchase equipment for water sampling and monitoring.
The high-quality equipment means the LMEF can monitor nutrient loading from three main tributaries and additional smaller ones into Lake Maxinkuckee, measuring more frequently and at more sites than previously. If something concerning is found, the results are taken to a lab for further study and possible action.
“Historically, we contracted with businesses to monitor Lake Maxinkuckee and her waters,” said Debbie Palmer, President and CEO of LMEF. “Monitoring more often now means more data and opportunities to protect Lake Maxinkuckee. It also meant that we need more volunteers for our work!”
When the LMEF asked for volunteers to help with the water sampling, Ginny Vonnegut Hahn stepped up – a niece of Ralph C. Vonnegut Jr., the founding donor. She commented that she was initially intrigued to volunteer because the money for the grant came from her uncle and his fund at the Community Foundation.
Hahn first came to Lake Maxinkuckee as an infant in 1962, when her family would spend two weeks vacation there every summer. Now her children are the 5th generation of the Vonnegut family to enjoy Lake Maxinkuckee and its waters.
“Our generation of Vonneguts most definitely feels the same connection to the lake as previous generations did,” said Hahn. She hopes that her children will come for years to come, introducing the next generation of the family to the magic that is Lake Maxinkuckee. She added, “We feel so blessed to be part of a long line of family who have enjoyed this lake and we don’t want to take it for granted.”
Hahn’s cousin, Nonie, recently shared that her father (Ralph C. Vonnegut Jr.) would have been so proud to know that his niece was helping preserve the beauty of Lake Maxinkuckee, a place that was so special to him.
Palmer said that the new monitoring equipment is a game-changer for the LMEF. “We got a great response from volunteers to help us with this effort,” she added. “Being out on the water, doing what we love, and introducing even more people to our mission to preserve Lake Maxinkuckee – and how to pass on this beautiful treasure to the future – is the reason why the LMEF is here, after all.”