top of page

Rooted in Water: A Native Plants Talk & Tour

How Native Plants and Buffers Zones Can Help Preserve the Beauty and Health of Chautauqua Lake for Generations To Come!

A photograph of a little girl in a white flowered dress and wearing a white, bucket hat, picking wild strawberries, amidst a bunch of taller garden plants native to Chautauqua County and Western New York.
Little Maya Lear picking wild strawberries in the her family's native plant garden in Fluvanna, NY (K. Bemis/2023)

Nestled in the heart of our region lies the serene and picturesque Chautauqua Lake, a natural gem that has captivated hearts for generations. But beyond its tranquil waters and scenic beauty, the Lake is a cornerstone of a delicate ecosystem that requires our attention and care.

On June 15th, 2024, the Fluvanna Community Historical Society (FCHS) and Fluvanna's United Neighbors (FUN), in partnership with the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy, will host a Talk and Tour all about native plants, buffer zones and the health of Chautauqua Lake (to register in advance, click here).

In the meantime, to learn more about how native plants and buffer zones maintain the delicate balance of our community's ecosystem, the upcoming Talk and Tour and the role you can play to help preserve the Lake, read more below.

Jump to a Specific Section:

Why Native Plants Matter
A photograph of two white colored water lilies in the water with a few lily pads surrounding them.
White water-lilies (Nymphaea odorata ssp. odorata) are a floating aquatic plant native to Chautauqua County. Early settlers and visitors to the area noted the prevalence of these water lilies along the lakeshore in Fluvanna (Dawn McDonald/July 2022).

Native plants are not just beautiful; they are the foundation of our local ecosystem. They provide essential habitats for wildlife, support pollinators, and contribute to the Lake’s health by stabilizing shorelines and filtering runoff. By embracing native plants, we not only enhance the natural beauty of our landscapes but also fortify the environmental resilience of our beloved Lake.

Buffer Zones: Our First Line of Defense

Buffer zones play a critical role in protecting Chautauqua Lake from urbanization and agriculture runoff. These vegetated areas act as a natural barrier, absorbing pollutants and preventing them from entering our waterways. By attending the upcoming Talk and Tour ("Rooted in Water"), you’ll learn how these green buffers are crucial in safeguarding the water quality and overall health of the Lake’s ecosystem.

Designing Your Native "Lakescape"

Imagine stepping outside to a garden that not only thrives with minimal care but also contributes to the conservation of Chautauqua Lake. The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy is offering a unique opportunity to have experts visit your property and help design a native "lakescape" bed tailored just for you. This personalized approach ensures that your green space is not only beautiful but also beneficial to the Lake’s ecosystem.

A Journey Through History
An old black and white photograph showing a dirt road lined with trees on the one side of the street with three small children walking on the dirt sidewalk just next to these trees. In the foreground is a set of white washed wooden stairs and further own the street are a few wood, clapboard structures. In the background and on the righthand side of the picture, one can see a lake and in the far distance wooded lakeshore.
A photograph of Old Fluvanna Road, facing east, showing a glimpse of the lakeshore as it appeared in the late 19th and early 20th centuries (Photographer Unknown/Date Unknown).

Chautauqua Lake has a rich history that is intertwined with the cultural and environmental heritage of our region. The Lake's pre-historic shoreline ran right through Fluvanna, with this place later serving as the location of an Erie Indian village. Centuries later, Fluvanna served as the site of Chautauqua Lake's first resort hotel setting off a dramatic transformation of the lakefront and entire region that continues to this day. Even within living memory, the lakeshore along Fluvanna (as with the rest of the Lake) underwent a dramatic transformation. Join us on June 15th to share your thoughts and memories as we explore the Lake's past, the pivotal role it has played and will continue playing in shaping our community.

Tour the Transformation

Also, on June 15th, you can witness the power of native plantings firsthand by joining us on a tour of two native plant beds lovingly installed by the Bemis-Lear family at their home in Fluvanna and designed with the assistance of the Watershed Conservancy. See the vibrant colors, feel the textures, and learn about the species that are making a difference right here in our community.

Join Us

Don’t miss this chance to connect with nature, learn from experts and take a step towards a more sustainable future. Mark your calendars and join us in this celebration of native plants and the enduring legacy of Chautauqua Lake. To reserve your spot today, click the "Register Now" button:

Save the Date!

We look forward to seeing you on June 15th and joining hands in protecting the natural splendor that defines our region. Together, we can ensure that Chautauqua Lake remains a vibrant and thriving ecosystem for generations to come.

Let’s make a difference, one plant at a time!

The logo of the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy, featuring a solitary bird with a large beak, standing in water with green hills in the distance.
The logo of the Fluvanna Community Historical Society, featuring Fluvanna's historic Meeting House, and customized with a host of spring, multi-colored flowers surrounding the structure and purple butterflies flitting above the same.
The logo of the Fluvanna United Neighbors (FUN) featuring a large stylized "F" in gold outlined in yellow and grey/blue shadowing, the name of the association printed underneath the graphic and customized for spring with a small bee flying at the bottom of the logo.

The Fluvanna Community Historical Society is a registered 501(c)(3) organization, provisionally chartered by the Regents of the University of the State of New York, and dedicated to connecting our community with our past, with each other and with a brighter future.


Disclaimer: this Talk and Tour is an educational event and intended for community-based discourse. The views and opinions expressed by speakers and participants at, and in connection with, this event are there own and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the Fluvanna Community Historical Society, Fluvanna's United Neighbors (FUN), other co-sponsors and the event organizers.

58 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page