Environmental Education

Encouraging the community to protect our environment

Adult and Youth Education:

Knowledge of important environmental issues is vital to the preservation and improvement of the beautiful environment that we currently enjoy at Smith Mountain Lake and the surrounding area. These issues include water quality, invasive plant and animal species, species extinction, water runoff/erosion control and effects of climate change. It will help us be better stewards of our environment by providing education for a general knowledge and appreciation of nature to our citizens.

SMLA provides environmental education to the Smith Mountain Lake community to encourage protection and improvement of the environment in and around the Roanoke Valley Watershed. Our all-volunteer force works with both adults and school age students to educated them on the environmental issues associated with protecting the watershed and the lake. The SMLA Environmental Education Committee is comprised of members of SMLA and local educators who are concerned about the environment of our lake community. Many are members of the Virginia Master Naturalists and Virginia Master Gardeners.

SMLA provides environmental education to both children and adults in the lake area, and we host a variety of educational nature talks to the public. We support Earth Day activities as well as environmental activities at the Smith Mountain Lake State Park and Booker T. Washington National Monument. We visit local schools and other local organizations.

Our youth are our future. It is our responsibility to insure that they understand and appreciate the wonderful world of nature that we enjoy at beautiful Smith Mountain Lake and the surrounding area. By teaching our youth about nature and how it interacts with us on a daily basis, we will preserve this blessing for future generations. It is our legacy. Our members volunteer at a variety of venues in this quest, including the Claytor Nature Center in Bedford to teach children about the importance of water quality and its affect on the environment in the Roanoke Valley Watershed.

Buffer Landscaping:

Buffer landscaping consists of vegetation planted near the lakeshore to trap sediments and to filter nutrients and pollutants. It also serves to prevent erosion and stabilize sloped areas of the shoreline. Buffer Landscaping promotes the concept that landowners can have a beautiful lakefront while being lake friendly and environmentally sound. Member Master Gardeners have developed a protocol for the establishment of gardens of native vegetation to filter contaminants and fertilizers flowing to the lake. Please visit the Buffer Landscaping Web Page for detailed information.

Buffer Landscaping Services:

The Buffer Landscaping Committee consists of a team of about 20 volunteers many of which are Virginia Master Naturalists and Virginia Master Gardeners.  Our mission is to preserve the lake shoreline and water quality while providing wildlife habitat and protecting your property investment and enhancing the beauty of the lake.  Committee members are available to make recommendations to homeowners on how to slow and filter water flowing into the lake using native plants. Committee members help create demonstration gardens and provide on site advice to lake residents as well as recognize efforts of our residents who utilize effective buffer landscape techniques.

  • SMLA provides a Buffer Landscape ‘how to’ Guide as well as a plant list that can help with your planning. The plant list is comprehensive with native as well as cultivars that thrive in our area. The list is approved by AEP for use below the 800 foot contour in the current Shoreline Management Plan. To see an extensive list of plants and other helpful material, please visit The Buffer Landscaping Committee’s web page: Buffer Landscaping Web Page
  • We are also available to speak to groups interested in this program. The talk on buffer landscaping is both informative and entertaining.
  • SMLA will send our Buffer Landscape Advisory Service Team (BLAST) members to your home to advise and make recommendations on how to improve buffering characteristics of lakefront or near lakefront properties. You can request a BLAST visit by calling the SMLA office 540-719-0690 or email theoffice@smlassociation.org.
  • Each year the Buffer Landscape Committee searches for waterfront properties that are examples for others to emulate. The following criteria is used in the selection:
    • Landscape follows guidelines as set out in SMLA Buffer landscape Guide
    • Landscape uses plants listed in the SMLA Buffer Landscape plant list
    • Landscape meets guidelines contained in the current AEP Shoreline Management Plan

How to Participate:

  • Start your own buffer improvement effort
  • Nominate your own or a neighbor’s property for recognition
  • Join our committee.

Septic System Education:

Coming Soon.

Join SMLA Today

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