Field Notes

August 14, 2018

K21 Health Foundation Enriches Lilly Center Research

In a tangible display of advocacy for community health, the K21 Health Foundation is investing $200,000 into the Lilly Center for Lakes & Streams for expanded research on the lakes and streams of Kosciusko County. The two-year research study focuses on toxins produced by blue-green algae which can be harmful to people and pets.

Rich Haddad, President and CEO of K21, is excited about supporting programs that benefit the community and local economy. “We care about the health of Kosciusko County residents,” Haddad explained. “So does the Lilly Center. Like us, they are actively searching for ways to enrich and protect the county. Our shared vision led K21 to help continue this health-related lake research.”

K21’s gift introduces seven public beaches and two additional lakes into the Lilly Center’s ongoing testing schedule. For the first time, Center and Pike lakes are part of the team’s lake sampling calendar, for a total of 14 lakes sampled each week from June-August. Although they are not all-sport lakes, Center and Pike are used regularly by the Warsaw community. “It’s important to study the algae in these lakes,” said Haddad. “Their populations can affect the families that enjoy the water.”

Lake sampling has potential benefits for the entire county and the surrounding region. For instance, sampling data will be able to be used in a future public notification system that will show which public spaces are safe to enjoy throughout the county. A better understanding of blue-green algae and the toxins they produce under different conditions will help all the lakes of northern Indiana.

“We know people want to hear how their lakes are doing,” said Dr. Nate Bosch, Director of the Lilly Center. “Thanks to K21, and our other generous partners, community members won’t have to wait months for research updates,” Bosch added. K21’s grant has also included tangible support, as lab equipment will be purchased for the brand-new Dr. Dane A. Miller Science Complex, located at Grace College. With these resources, the Lilly Center can test water samples gathered from local lakes and deliver research updates within 48 hours.

“It’s wonderful to work with such incredible advocates for our community,” said Dr. Bosch. “We couldn’t do what we do without partners like K21. We’re eager to start growing into the new science complex space, and to start sharing it with the community.” Bosch added.

The Dr. Dane A. Miller Science Complex’s public opening is planned for Friday, Oct. 5, from 3:30-5:30 p.m. Community members are welcome to attend.