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This photo shows Potter Lake in its first year, 1911. A celebration will be held April 30 to mark the lake's centennial and the work of the last few years to restore it to health.

Celebration to mark 100 years of Potter Lake

Final public work date to be held as well

KU will celebrate both 100 years of Potter Lake’s time on campus and the new life it’s taken on in the last few years. The Potter Lake Project, a group of students that has collaborated with faculty, staff, students and community members to restore the lake has two events planned April 23 and 30.

On Saturday, April 23, the Potter Lake Project is hosting a final work day at the lake. Beginning at 10 a.m., volunteers are welcome to help plant switch grass, remove trash from the area and prepare the lake for its centennial celebration the following week. The switch grass will be planted on the south side of the lake, near a new sediment basin to help maintain the lake’s health.

“Our goal there is to help filter out the sediment before it gets into the lake,” said Matt Nahrstedt, a member of the Potter Lake Project.

The clean-up event is open to anyone who would like to help and will last about two hours.

The lake’s history will be celebrated at a centennial celebration from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 30. The event will follow the KU football spring game and will include food, drinks and live music from local performers.

“It should have a nice, picnic-like atmosphere,” Melissa Allen of the Potter Lake Project said about the celebration. “It’s an opportunity to enjoy the day, but also to learn more about Potter Lake, its history and where it’s going.”

Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little will address the crowd, and presentations about the lake’s life will be made. Individuals who have worked to restore the lake’s health will share information on steps taken over the last few years.

Originally built in 1911 as a fire control method for Jayhawk Boulevard, Potter Lake has had a changing role in campus life over the years. It hosted regattas and swimming meets in its early years. In recent years, though, it had become overgrown with excess plant life and filled with sediment. Funding was provided by Student Senate, the Office of the Chancellor and alumni donations to remove the excess vegetation, install aerators, dredge the pond and remove sediment. Facilities Operations donated the switch grass . The work was a collaboration between faculty, staff, students and community members.

For more information about the cleanup and celebration events, visit the Potter Lake Project Facebook page.

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Jennifer Delisle, information manager, Kansas Natural Heritage Inventory, Kansas Biological Survey
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