Making Lake Hopatcong a Classroom

The Lake Hopatcong Foundation designs full-day field trips, especially for fourth-graders in our area, and hosts them at Hopatcong State Park. During their visits, students are given an opportunity to discover the lake by boat and its surroundings on foot.

They are encouraged to learn about the impact of surrounding geography on the lake, as well as the importance of trees and forests to the health of the lake. They also view an Enviroscape model to learn about watersheds, collect macro-invertebrate samples to determine the health of water, and receive a guided tour of the Lake Hopatcong Historical Museum.

The lessons provided are consistent with New Jersey Next Generation Science Standards, so students will be equipped to bring what they learn about the lake environment and history back into their classroom.

Looking ahead, the Lake Hopatcong Foundation is seeking funding to secure a “floating classroom,” much like the one operated by the Lake George Association in upstate New York. Such a vessel would allow us to bring people of all ages onto the lake to learn about fresh water ecology and how to help protect our lakes through regularly scheduled field trips and occasional excursions during the spring and fall months.

Once we are able to make the floating classroom operational, our goal is to open the program to schools and camps in Morris and Sussex counties. Eventually, we hope to be able to extend our reach throughout New Jersey with programs open to the public one day a week during summer months.