Meet the Stewards

In honor of New York’s 8th Annual Invasive Species Awareness Week please join us in welcoming our 2021 Watercraft Stewards. These individuals help keep our waterways clean as part of the Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Program. This state-wide program provides information and education to boaters while data is gathered for state usage information.

MAX PINGITORE

Max is a senior at Cassadaga High School. This is his second year as a CLA boat steward in Dunkirk and Cassadaga. After high school, Max plans on attending JCC and studying criminal justice. “I started working at CLA so I could get comfortable talking with people I don’t know,” Max said. He became a steward when he ran into his substitute teacher on a field trip, who was a steward at the Cassadaga launch. “I feel what we do is important because the lakes are why the area is so popular. Lake Erie and Cassadaga are both beautiful lakes.”


TOM SEARS

Tom is a retired dairy farmer from Falconer. He is in his sixth year as part of the boat steward program. He works as a steward at the Prendergast, Cassadaga, and Mayville launches. Dr. Rudy Mueller asked him if he’d be interested in working on the lake, and he decided that this part-time position was a good fit for him. He thoroughly enjoys talking with people and finding out their concerns. “In my six years, I think this program is working. The lake is a lot cleaner.”


LAUREN SHARP

Lauren is in her third year as a boat steward for the CLA. She has earned a Bachelor’s in Natural Resource Management at Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She became a part of the CLA through the Western New York Crop Management, and hopes to find full-time employment in the environmental field in Chautauqua County in the future. She is also a bartender at the Cassadaga Memorial Post 1280. “A lot of it comes down to boater education. Showing boaters how if they take their weeds off and drain their boat it really can help the lake and other lakes that they go to.” 


BILL LABART

Bill is a retired United States Navy veteran. He served in the Navy from 1975-1979. He worked in the hospital maintenance department, and has been a resident of the county for his entire life.

As he was looking for part-time work, he came across the CLA steward program. This is his first summer. “We just want the healthiest lake we can have to fish and have some clean, recreational fun for generations to come. The most important part is letting the public know what we’re doing and what we’re trying to prevent.”


TAYLOR INGRAO

Taylor is in her first year as a boat steward. She is an 11th-grader at Falconer High School. Her favorite subjects are science and math. She joined the CLA because one of her friends works there “and she really likes it. You get to see how much of a difference it makes.” She wants to do her part “to help out and keep the lake clean.” 

ERIN NOLAN

Erin is in her second year with the CLA. She is an 11th grader at Maple Grove High School, and chose this job “because I wanted to help protect Chautauqua Lake.” Erin feels that the importance of boat stewards is to help educate boaters on how they can help protect the natural aquatic habitats of the lakes and rivers they visit.


BOB DARLING

Bob is a retired Cummins engineer, where he worked for 37 years. He is in his third season at CLA. He joined the boat steward program because he is a “big-time fisherman and hunter” and he loves this lake. This job allows him to meet new people from all over the country. “All kinds of people from Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia. I meet so many nice people.” Bob loves his office view of Chautauqua Lake, and he feels strongly about what he does. “We have to be very careful what we put into the lake so we can keep it as clean as possible.”


ANNA TARAPACKI

Anna is a college student at JCC where she studies Childhood and Special Education. She is in her second year at CLA. Anna believes that keeping people accountable for helping to protect the lake is the most important job as a boat steward. “I chose this job because I want the lake to be protected and clean. I enjoy being in and on the lake and I know many other people do as well.”


SIENNA COLLINS

Sienna is in her first year as a boat steward. She is an 11th-grader at Chautauqua Lake High School, and her favorite subject is gym class. She loves to be outside and is a very social person. “I believe the importance of the stewardship position is to just let the public know that we are here to keep the lake clean and safe for our community, not bother people that are trying to launch.”