October of 2003, just five months after it opened as
Vermont’s premier lake aquarium and science center, ECHO
at the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain was awarded
Vermont’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental
Design (LEED™) Green Building Certification by the
United States Green Building Council.
ECHO became the first LEED certified building in the state of
Vermont and the only lake aquarium in the United States with
this certification. With this designation, ECHO is the third
certified building in New England and joined a group of fewer
than 70 LEED certified buildings in the United States.
In conjunction with the certification, ECHO developed an
energy and environmental quest that guests may take throughout
the building during their visit to ECHO that showcases the
visible LEED certification elements such as recycled building
materials, motion sensing lights, and toilets that let you
choose how much water to use. The “E2 Quest” serves as a fun
scavenger hunt inside ECHO as well as provides guests with ideas
for how to conserve energy in their own homes.
Enjoy tasty homemade dishes made with fresh local and
seasonal ingredients while learning all about the 3 R’s:
Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling. Activities on café trays, an
interactive scale for weighing trash left from lunch, and a
recycle-and-compost center are just a few of the opportunities
that await — along with stunning views of the Adirondack
Mountains and the Lake.
Looking for seasonal topics or current science on the Lake?
Check out our Current Waves workbench on the top floor of ECHO.
Here we'll have articles, research, and stewardship information.
University of Vermont Wet Lab
The Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory is a lakefront
extension of the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural
Resources at the University of Vermont (UVM). The laboratory is
also used by Saint Michael's College in a partnership with UVM.
It houses state-of-the-art research facilities, including
laboratories for the study of contaminants, water and sediment
quality, and aquatic biota including fish, invertebrates and
algae. The laboratory provides researchers with the tools
necessary to investigate and understand the ecosystem processes
that determine ecological health and influence the quality of
life for the human community in the Basin. The UVM research
vessel Melosira is docked adjacent to the facility, providing
access for research and teaching on Lake Champlain. The facility
also provides a teaching laboratory for use by UVM, Saint
Michael's College, and ECHO .
Mary Watzin, Director Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory
Three College Street
Burlington, Vermont 05401
Telephone: (802) 859-3086
Rubenstein Web Address:
UVM Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources Web
The Lake's Mist
During the warmer months the slate rocks out front of ECHO
will often erupt with a mysterious mist that brings to mind the
primordial forces that shaped the Lake Champlain basin thousands
of years ago. The mist is also a great way to cool off on a hot
Both ECHO's Front Desk and three story Waterwall are made of
Champlain Black Marble. This rare and ancient stone is over 300
million years old, and is actually a type of Limestone.
Champlain Marble comes from Isle La Motte, VT and was formed in
the oldest coral reef known on Earth; a reef that was over 1,000
miles long, stretching from Newfoundland to Tennessee! Look
closely at the Waterwall and you can see fossils of some of the
many creatures that inhabited the ancient sea - animals that
ranged from tiny arthropods to multi-legged relatives of squid.