It has been a whirlwind of an inaugural year for the Lake Hopatcong Foundation Floating Classroom! The vessel first arrived and was launched on Lake Hopatcong in April and was christened, Study Hull, at our 2018 Annual Meeting in May at the Garden State Yacht Club in Hopatcong.
See post on Floating Classroom Christening: 2018 LHF Annual Meeting and Floating Classroom Christening
Educational Field Trips
By mid-May, students began boarding the 40-passenger vessel as part of our Lake Hopatcong educational field trip program. With scientific equipment on board to provide hands-on learning, students were introduced to concepts on water quality monitoring and how to protect our lake.
In addition to the Floating Classroom, the students experienced an interactive EnviroScape model which demonstrates the importance of watershed protection, explored the health of the Musconetcong River with macroinvertebrate sampling, and a took a discovery nature hike where they were exposed to many important and unique aspects of Lake Hopatcong.
By mid-June, nearly 800 fourth- and fifth-grade students students had poured into Hopatcong State Park to learn all about Lake Hopatcong and the watershed that is vital to its health.
See post on field trip season: Hundreds of Students Explore Lake Hopatcong During Spring Educational Field Trips
As summer settled on the lake, we introduced 90-minute public excursions aboard the Floating Classroom, creating an opportunity for the public to take a ride, conduct experiments, and learn about the Lake Hopatcong watershed. Public excursions were offered on Mondays in July and August. We were fortunate to only have one cancellation due to lightning and stormy weather. The other 7 cruises went out without a hitch and we were thrilled that all but the first two cruises were SOLD OUT!
See post on Floating Classroom public cruises: Floating Classroom Open for Public Cruises
Fall brought the removal and winterizing of the Floating Classroom as well as recognition by the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC). In October, the Floating Classroom program received an Environmental Achievement Award “for outstanding accomplishment in local environmental protection” at ANJEC’s 45th Annual Environmental Congress at Mercer County College in West Windsor.
See post on ANJEC Award: Floating Classroom Wins 2018 ANJEC Environmental Achievement Award
There are so many people to thank for making the Floating Classroom and the 2018 season such a success.
Firstly, we’d like to thank the Gannett Foundation/USA TODAY Network’s “A Community Thrives” program, the James P. Verhalen Family Foundation, and the Szigethy Family for providing the funding to purchase the Floating Classroom Vessel.
In addition, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to the dozens of volunteers whose time and efforts made the educational field trips and Floating Classroom public excursions possible. We truly appreciate the dedication, expertise and positive attitude of all of our AMAZING education volunteers. We couldn’t run these programs without them. A special thank you to Lisa Hirschfeld, Donna Norman, Georgia Schilling, and Amy Bush for their time and expertise in creating the Floating Classroom curriculum and consistently adjusting and improving the presentation to make the best experience possible. In addition, we couldn’t get so many people out on the water to learn without our captains, Tom Bush, Bill Orr, and Lee Moreau, and our first mate, Larry Orlans.
Finally, we would like to thank:
- Princeton Hydro for their expertise and assistance in training our staff and volunteers in lake ecology and water quality monitoring.
- The OHAUS Corporation for donating the pH and temperature meters as well as data logbooks.
- Hopatcong State Park and the NJ State Park Service for their outstanding support of the educational field trip program.
- Lee’s County Park Marina for donating the storage of our trailer
- Accurate Pest Control for donating spider treatment prior to shrink wrap storage.
- Lake’s End Marina for donating the winterizing and shrink wrapping of the Floating Classroom.
- Camp Six Property Management (Live the Lake NJ) for docking space and assistance in transporting the vessel.
- Roxbury Township Police Department for their assistance in transporting the vessel.
We are looking forward to improving and expanding our Floating Classroom programming for 2019. Currently, we are scheduling 2019 Lake Hopatcong educational field trips. More information and a scheduling inquiry form can be found HERE.
Some Floating Classroom Press
Daily Record, April 11, 2018, ‘Floating Classroom’ arrives at Lake Hopatcong
News 12 New Jersey, Positively New Jersey, May 21, 2018, Floating ‘classroom’ helps students learn about Lake Hopatcong
New Jersey Herald, May 22, 2018, Floating classroom sets sail on Lake Hopatcong
OHAUS website, October 2, 2018, Floating Classroom Uses OHAUS To Teach Real-Time Lessons
And That’s a Wrap
See you next year!