Water-Related News

Nature is Smith’s passion, lakes are her beat

LAKELAND — Laurie Ann Smith said she was the kid bolting out the back door and disappearing into the woods for the day.

In the summers in her hometown of Guilford, Conn., “a typical New England town,” there was swimming in the nearby lake, in the winters, skiing, and there was always the special spot just to exist and listen to the wind in the trees, or the skittering of animals in the woods.

“There was a certain rock in the woods I liked to go up to and sit. As a kid, 8 or 9 years old, just being out in nature — I loved that,” Smith said.

“I was one of those kids that came back with a pocket full of snakes and frogs,” she said.

Now Smith, 53, is the manager of Lakeland’s Lakes and Stormwater Division, a group responsible for blunting the effects of gravity and urban pollution on water, the topographical treadmill that ends up in Lakeland’s namesake geographic features.