Equestrio Foundation has been supporting the Association for the Safeguard of Lake Geneva (ASL) for the past two years by funding Thibaud Agoston’s humorous web series “Stand-Up Paddle”. We, ourselves, also spent a day volunteering in the field that you can discover in our new “Equestrio Fondation in Action” episode. Between the banks and the lake, it was a 100% full-on day!
The ASL: Lake Geneva’s heroes
The ASL has been active for over 40 years in the protection of the quality of the water and the biodiversity in Lake Geneva. Analyses of pollution levels, participation in institutional debates, cleaning-up operations, actions to raise awareness of biodiversity… the association never hesitates to plunge in at the deep end when it comes to preserving our lake.
Alicia, Charlotte and Lolita saw this for themselves during their day of volunteering with the association last July. Shivers, sweat, aches and pains all included…
Discovering the biodiversity of Lake Geneva
“Getting to know Lake Geneva” workshop
Did you know that discovering the depths of the lake requires getting up very early? At the crack of dawn, actually!
So our day begins with an early morning workshop and a cool dip in the lake! 7am, our best swimming costumes on – or wetsuits for those who feel the cold more (Lolita and Charlotte, for example!) – duly equipped with our masks and snorkels, and off we go to discover the hidden biodiversity of Lake Geneva.
The urgent need to coexist in harmony with the lake
After spending a bit of time birdwatching, we take the plunge and dive into the company of seagrass beds, molluscs, crustaceans and fish. Deep Silence and lingering movement. Life on the lake quietly unfolds as we enter what seems like another time. And yet, we must remember we also belong to this time, and this can no longer be overlooked if we want to move towards more harmony between these two worlds.
The conquest of Asian knotweed
For the second part of our day, off we go to tame Asian knotweed.
Asian knotweed? Yes, we asked ourselves the same question, but not a chance we can forget about them now! Stubborn, tough and, to put in bluntly, downright invasive, these exotic species imported from Asia in the 19th century grow up to 8 centimetres a day and show an annoying tendency to spread out to the point of preventing native plants from developing.
The solution to this invasion is to pull them out regularly, every 2-3 weeks during the vegetation period (April to October). So, this is our next task for the afternoon, armed with our gloves and pickaxes
Thanks to the perseverance of the ASL and of over 500 volunteers who contributed to the “Stop Knotweed” operation, the volume of these invasive plants has been reduced by 90% in a single year, with 9,612 kg of plants uprooted in 2022… and a subsequent amount of rubbish collected along the way.
Overall impression of the day?
Feeling very cold… then really hot with the sensation of having done about ten cross-fit sessions in a row… but always this satisfying feeling of discovering a wealth of new things that enabled us, once again, to realise that nothing beats direct contact with nature to fully grasp the fragile balance of our ecosystems.
And for the rest, it’s all here, (with no filter!)