Franklin Countys First News

Wilson Lake boat rides get international attention

Photo by Holly Windle

By Holly Windle

An intermittent drizzle on Friday afternoon did not keep the Friends of Wilson Lake from offering their usual free boat tours of the lake as part of the annual Blueberry Festival. More than 250 people took advantage of the opportunity to go out on the water on pontoon boats volunteered for the purpose by lakeshore residents, who spoke of lake wildlife and the LakeSmart program. Life jackets in various sizes were available for children and others who wanted them, and helpful volunteers assisted with any tricky fastenings. Some of those riding the boats include this activity every Festival, while for others—even some Wilton residents—this was a new experience.

Among the new boat riders was a group of twenty students from David Li Kwok Po College in Hong Kong. The prospective 9th and 10th graders, along with their school’s principal and vice principal, are attending a two-week summer program at UMF, improving their English, as well as working on science, math, and technology projects. Having the Hong Kong students here is an opportunity for students at UMF to hone their skills as teachers for English Language Learners. Last year, a UMF student taught English at the school, but this is the first time the exchange has brought Hong Kong students to Maine. Carole Lee, UMF associate professor of Elementary Education, is serving as liaison for the program.

The Hong Kong group is housed at Purrington Hall on campus, but the program aims to provide opportunities to soak up an array of Maine experiences (and some of our rain, apparently). After the Wilton Blueberry Festival on Friday, they were scheduled for Acadia National Park on Saturday, and the Rockland Lobster Fest on Sunday. They may get to try Maine’s iconic seafood, but their plan on Friday was to sample Wilton’s own Chinese restaurant, New Great Wall.

At the boat launch Friday, in addition to the boat rides, FOWL had set up a Loon Booth, with the help of BioDiversity Research Institute. People could hear a recording of a variety of loon calls, and look at a taxidermy loon to see just how large these birds can be.

Over the course of the weekend, FOWL provided Courtesy Boat Inspectors to check for plants on boats going in or out of the lake. This weekend’s monitoring work was sponsored by the popular Calzalaio Pasta Co.

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