President’s Message — November / December 2019

Perry Thomas, NALMS President

Good tidings to all on this post-winter-solstice Monday! NALMS sends thanks for a wonderful year. Special thanks to Sara Peel for her hard work and strong leadership as president—and for continuing to serve not only as past-president but as incoming conference coordinator.

In the October/November issue of this newsletter, Sara urged us all to consider telling our NALMS stories as part of our celebration of the Society’s 40th year. I want to echo her call here and urge you to send in your story, even if you only have time to send a few lines. If yours is anything like Sara’s and mine, you may find yourself remembering good times with mentors.

My NALMS story, in a nutshell, began when I was president of the Federation of Vermont Lakes and Ponds (FOVLAP) and Ginny Garrison persuaded me to join NALMS as a way of connecting with other state and regional lake associations facing some of the same challenges as FOVLAP. Ginny had retired after 34 years working with the Vermont DEC Lakes & Ponds Section in July 2008—the same month that I became president of FOVLAP. Ginny and I were neighbors according to Vermont standards (we lived within ten miles of each other) and, after her retirement, we often carpooled to lake events together. During those car rides I heard many stories of Ginny’s experiences with the Vermont Lakes and Ponds Section and NALMS, and I developed admiration for both organizations. In 2015, not long after I began working with the Vermont DEC Lakes & Ponds team myself, the New York State Federation of Lake Associations hosted the 35th NALMS Symposium in Saratoga Springs. I was able to attend, and I haven’t missed a Symposium since.

This past fall, at the NALMS 2019 Symposium in Vermont, Ginny was able to participate in the “Voices of Experience” session, titling her talk “A lot is different…but some things never change.” During her presentation, it occurred to me that her message applied to both our experiences in Vermont and to those of NALMS. Over the coming year, your stories will become touchstones as NALMS considers new initiatives. To share your story, please email it to Alyssa Anderson (