I. Cultural Services:

Cultural services are important to the well-being of the lake and its community. They include aesthetic, scenic and spiritual values as well as religious and historic sites and educational resources.  Cultural services are in the human domain in the sense that these are the things that the ecosystem has to offer human some of which are tangible such as an educational value and also intangible benefits such as scenic beauty or a spiritual experience.

Photo Credit: Kaity Mazart

II. The Cultural Services of Lake Ecosystems:

Lakes incorporate all these values. Lakes around the world are known for many aesthetic values such as breathtaking sunsets.  Often, there are many religious sites sporadically located around a lake community that provide people with an outlet for their spirituality. Education is also very prominent commodities in lake areas. These sites educate people in the are in general and about the lake itself.  These areas are colleges,universities, museums and local elementary and high schools.Lakes and their surrounding areas also tend to have great historical value which can be great service to the community. Ecosystem functions for a lake include the provisions of drinking water, energy and agriculture.  The regulation of waste absorption, wetlands and streams are also abiotic functions.  Ecosystem services also include the more cultural aspects of a lake such as spiritual, historical, aesthetics, scenic, educational resources along with tourism and recreational outlets.  Ecosystem services also encompass some of the provisioning services above that also benefit humans.

This ecosystem assessment is similar to that of The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment because the objective of that project is to ensure human well-being which is directly related to cultural services because these are things which do cater to human welfare. Another important aspect of the millennium ecosystem assessment is the emphasis on humans using ecosystem service without ruining the actual ecosystem which is something to also to be stressed to the community surrounding Lake Champlain.

III. The Cultural Services of Lake Champlain:

Lake Champlain has been called the most “historic body of water in North America”, its waters provide a perfect access route from the St. Lawrence River into North America (Slayton, 2009).  The lake has immense historical value, and has played an important role in the development of America.

The first Native Americans to utilize Lake Champlain as a resource were the Palepondians.  They used the lake for food, water, tools, spiritual guidance and transportation (Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, 2010).  During the Revolutionary War, whoever captured the lake’s forts had complete control over the entire lake, the only access to Canada (Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, 2010).  The Battle of Lake Champlain ended the final invasion of the northern states during the War of 1812.  These are just a few examples of the historical background of Lake Champlain.

After the Revolutionary War, the lake became more recreational.  Public beaches were developed, people began to sail, fish and swim in the lake.   Unfortunately, the increased recreational use of the lake has led to its degradation.  People started becoming concerned for the water quality and health of the lake.  Fortunately, there are many organizations working towards preserving its environmental and historical values (Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, 2010).

Photo Credit Tom Slayton

Lake Champlain has many aesthetic values as well.  The lake is very well known for its breathtaking sunsets.  The waterfront is magnificent, there are multiple parks along the lake, and North Beach is a popular hang out place for people of all ages.

There are many sites on and around the lake which give great educational opportunities.  The University of Vermont offers classes that educate the student body about the lake, the ECHO museum is a great resource to learn and experience the ecology of the lake, Champlain College, and local elementary and high schools also help educate the public.

Although there are many educational resources listed above, there are still issues surrounding the communication of the lake’s resources and services to the public.  Efforts of improving cultural and regulating services need to be better integrated, because without their regulation, the cultural services will cease to exist.  It is also very difficult to keep laws and regulations consistent becuase Lake Champlain is located between three separate regions (New York, Vermont and Quebec) (D’Cruz, 2004).  The neighboring community of Lake Champlain has been working to create more newsletters and opportunities to increase awareness of our Lake at stake (LCBP, 2010).

IV. To See the Analysis of Education as a Cutural Service Follow This Link: