Sandy and Wynn Muller helped found Friends of Wilson Lake in 1989. They were recently recognized for their leadership in preserving Maine’s lakes. Submitted photo

WILTON — After word spread that some youngsters may have accidentally killed a loon chick in Wilton 15 years ago, Sandy and Wynn Muller helped develop a program to teach local children how to protect the iconic birds.

It’s just one of a number of programs the part-time Wilton couple have helped implement as members of Friends of Wilson Lake. Since the organization’s start in 1989, the Mullers have worked tirelessly to implement conservation programs and engage locals in protecting Wilson Lake.

Last week, the Mullers were among 100 people honored as “Clean Water Champions” by the Natural Resources Council of Maine in celebration of the Clean Water Act’s 50th anniversary.

“For 35 years, they have provided inspiration, information, and encouragement about what needs to be done to keep Maine lakes healthy,” Friends of Wilson Lake officers wrote in their nomination letter. “Their leadership, their encouragement of other organizations and individuals, and their continued emphasis on learning more and doing better makes them models of commitment for protecting and preserving our lakes for the future.”

Sandy Muller is now the president of Friends of Wilson Lake, helping the organization transition to new, younger leadership. Wynn Muller, too, led the organization from 2003-15.

The “Lakes and Loons” program at Academy Hill and Cushing schools still runs today, teaching third-grade students about the nature and nesting habits of loons.


But the couple has had their hand in many other lasting initiatives, including the start of Wilson Lake’s courtesy boat inspection program, which helps protect the lake from invasive species.

Friends of Wilson Lake also began participating in Maine’s LakeSmart program during Wynn Muller’s time as president, encouraging lakefront residents to manage their land in ways that reduces pollutants from storm water. Currently, about 40% of properties on Wilson Lake are LakeSmart approved.

“Lakes are living entities, and they have to be cared for just like a human has to be cared for,” Wynn Muller said. “We can’t do things that could damage the lake.”

Unlike other lake organizations, individuals don’t need to own property around the lake, or even in Wilton, to join Friends of Wilson Lake. The organization currently has close to 300 members.

The Mullers have lived in Wilton during the summer months since they retired in 1999. During the winter, they return to their home in Cromwell, Conn.

According to the nomination, Sandy and Wynn Muller’s boat serves both as a research vessel and an ambassadorial cruise ship, often giving local groups free tours of the lake and inviting people to join their biweekly water testing trips.

Beyond their work with Friends of Wilson Lake, the couple have also volunteered with Maine Lakes and Lakes Stewards of Maine.

“We have to really, really work hard on bringing this down to the next level to our children and their children,” Sandy Muller said. “I think the education of [protecting our lakes] is so, so important … and that’s why I’m working very aggressively to have our next layer of leadership [include] the younger groups.”

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