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Save Lake Paran Conservation Effort

North Bennington, VT

Lake Paran is a beautiful natural resource in the very heart of the North Bennington community. Lake Paran is stewarded by a not-for-profit recreation organization whose mission is to bring the natural beauty of Southern Vermont to people of all backgrounds, while also providing healthy and accessible outdoor activities. Over the past summers, aquatic nuisance vegetation has become rampant in Lake Paran, affecting the recreational and environmental value and health of the lake. Local partners conclude that it is important to preserve this biodiverse and recreational asset for the community by undergoing a consecutive year plan for aquatic invasive removal in Lake Paran, targeting milfoil and eventually other aquatic nuisance plants that suppress the value of the lake.If Lake Paran is not maintained, the future of this local and accessible recreational asset is at risk, as well as the ecosystem.

Project Goals Statement: 

The goal of the Save Lake Paran project is to conserve and steward Lake Paran through expanded educational, year-round youth and adult programming while addressing childcare, housing, transit access, and reaching communities and areas which have been historically excluded from outdoor and, more specifically, water recreation.

Partner Organization:
Paran Recreations, INC. 
Village of North Bennington

Technical Assistance:

  • Audit of website
  • Podcast feature
  • Recreational programming guidance
  • Capital campaign resource
  • Wayfinding and signage guidance

Health Assessment Outcome:

The North Bennington Community Health Equity Assessment collected input from community members (n=77) on their top contributors to health, health issues, and health behaviors. The survey also assessed community member Lake Paran usage, factors that would increase lake usage, and perceived benefits of the lake. Over 60% of community members were also interested in partnering with Paran Recreation INC to support lake-related issues.

Top 5 Most Important Factors for a Healthy Community

  • Good jobs and healthy economy
  • Affordable and safe housing
  • Low crime/safe neighborhoods
  • Access to health care (e.g., family doctor)
  • Parks and recreation

 

Top 5 Most Important Health Problem in the Community

  • Mental health
  • Domestic violence
  • Child neglect/abuse
  • Lack of health insurance
  • Dental problems

 

Top 5 Most Important Behaviors That Impact Overall Health

  • Substance abuse/Drug abuse
  • Being overweight
  • Poor eating habits
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Lack of exercise

 

Technical Assistance:

  • Audit of website
  • Podcast feature
  • Recreational programming guidance
  • Capital campaign resource
  • Wayfinding and signage guidance

 

Technical Assistance Outcome:

The Health Equity and Community Design technical assistance team provided an indepth review of the Save Lake Paran website. During this audit, not only were recommendations provided on how to enhance the website to increase web traffic and the appeal for support,, but staff received instructions on how to make the website updates on their own.  Additional resources developed to increase sustainable programming for all ages included the Community Outreach: Community Engagement Guidance and Templates  and Community Programming: Community Placemaking Guidance. Outcomes of the Health Equity  Camille Kaufman, with Paran Recreation INC, and Elizabeth Schumacher, Health Equity Ambassador, were featured in episode 3 of the Small Towns, Healthy Communities podcast, entitled Outdoor Recreation in Community Space . Within this episode, they discussed the important role that outdoor recreation plays in the physical, mental, financial, and social health of a community.

North Bennington

Demographics

Census Population

  • 2021: 1,539
  • 2020: 1,716

(Resource: 2021 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates)

Age Profile

  • 0-14: 6.5%
  • 15-64: 69.2%
  • 65+: 24.2%
  • 23.8 – Median Age in North Bennington, Vermont

(Resource: 2021 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates)

Population by Sex:

  • Male: 719, 46.7%
  • Female: 820, 53.3%

(Resource: 2021 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates)

  • 1-Year Mobility (Residents that have moved within the previous year):
  • 5-Year Mobility (Residents that have moved within the previous 5 years): Not available

(Resource: 2021 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates)

(Resource: ACS 5-Year Estimates from 2017 to 2021)