The Lake George Association’s signature Education and Outreach program, the Floating Classroom on Lake George, has been awarded a $10,000 grant to support our efforts to provide hands-on scientific experiments and experiences that broaden the understanding of Lake George.
The Floating Classroom, staffed by LGA Education Director Kristen Wilde and LGA Educator Lindsey Kenna as well as a licensed PV captain and a first mate, provides students and visitors with real-world learning experiences on environmental topics.
“For twenty-six years, the LGA has used our Floating Classroom program as a way to raise awareness about water quality issues to encourage change and conservation moves,” said Wilde. “It is always gratifying to see how much people enjoy the program and how their understanding of the Lake and its issues increases after the outings.”
“We are deeply appreciative to the Lake Champlain Basin Program for their Education and Outreach Grant,” said Walter Lender, the Lake George Association’s executive director. “The Basin Program’s continued support of this program and of many others is critical to the continuance of our efforts to protect the Lake George watershed and, by extension, the Lake Champlain watershed area.”
Protecting Lake George’s water quality and monitoring the water flowing into the Lake are two significant undertakings of the mission of the Lake George Association, the oldest lake protection organization in the country with thousands of members.
The Floating Classroom program educates participants about Lake George’s water quality through hands-on experiments during the two-hour program:
- Participants use Secchi disks to determine water clarity, with a discussion about issues that affect that clarity.
- Plankton nets are used to catch zooplankton – the building blocks of the Lake’s food web – where they identify different kinds of plankton and deepen their understanding about biological workings of the lake and food webs.
- Participants use water sampling bottles to collect water at various depths and measure temperature and dissolved oxygen to determine the condition of the water at that time.
All these hands-on science experiments lead into a general discussion with the group about how they can help protect Lake George’s Class AA-Special water quality, tying it back to everything they have seen and heard on the outing.
For schools in the watershed, the program on the LGA vessel is paired with a unit that teaches about the health of the entire Lake George watershed by performing water quality monitoring on one of the 141 streams that feed Lake George.
The watershed lesson teaches students about stream ecology, pollution, and the need to conserve the water quality of local streams. Students are left with the knowledge that even if they can’t see a waterbody, their actions on land can still influence it.
“We all live in a watershed,” Lender said. “That is an important concept to grasp.”
While the $10,000 Lake Champlain Basin Program grant will only be going to support the Floating Classroom program, the watershed program that pairs with it makes a well-rounded STEM lesson for students in schools around the watershed.
In 2018, more than 2,100 people experienced Floating Classroom programs. The programs operate nearly every day from May through June and September and October for watershed schools. In the summer, the vessel and the program operate twice a day on Wednesdays as well as other scheduled times with Lake George organizations.
The Lake George Association is the oldest and most experienced lake protection organization in the country, whose members support water quality protection, scientific monitoring, education and lake-friendly living programs that benefit the watershed from Lake George Village to Ticonderoga.
All the money raised by the Lake George Association stays in the Lake George watershed, and is used to support and fund projects and programs that protect Lake George water quality now and in the future.