Education Public Participation Outreach Committee
Cayuga Lake Watershed Intermunicipal Organization
Meeting Minutes – March 19, 2002

Present: Lynn Leopold, Deb Grantham, Jerry Codner, Sharon Anderson and guest Dennis Montgomery owner of Cayuga Wooden Boatworks

Floating Classroom:

Dennis Montgomery introduced himself, his background and an educational program on an Erie Canal boat out of Rochester Museum of Science. He saw their presentation where people in period costume do a program for youth on the history of the Erie Canal. NYS lotto provides all the pens, pencil etc. for this program. Through this experience Dennis was inspired to think there should be a similar “floating classroom” program on Cayuga Lake. One hundred years ago, Prof Gilbert Harris built a boat in Ithaca for this purpose and ran educational programs. Dennis has a boat built in Mass for offshore fishing, used in Alexandria Bay that is diesel powered and Coast Guard certified for about 35 people. He is hoping to restore the boat and use it for education. He would love to find a 501(c)3 group to associate with and a group to take this project on. A couple of hours in a classroom and a boat session would work well so the class could be split in half to make smaller groups. Possible collaborators: Network, Extension, Sciencenter, PRI, Cornell, Ithaca College, Wells, Cayuga Nature Center, and girl scouts (their camp that has a dock). Sea Grant might help with lesson development. Would be good to have the boat run on bio-diesel. Toad Hollow Farm (Waste Not Resource Recover System) is a local effort to take fat from renders and refine it. Honda donated motors to a floating classroom. Dennis is willing to repair his boat and get it to meet Coast Guard safety regulations. He will be a certified captain in a few weeks.

Curriculum and possible Instructor:
A possible instructor on the boat might be Paul Tatar, is a teacher about to retire next year who got a TV program to do 6 episodes of Bass fishing in this area. It would be good to have a variety of curriculums such as geology, ecology, history, Native American’s relationship with the lake. Might have a trip that has stops where kids could get out if there is a dock. Railroad tracks on the east side are rich in fossils. Water monitoring could include secchi disk, a visit to the RUSS unit, hydrolab from the City of Ithaca. Would also give youth an experience of being on the lake they might not otherwise get. USGS may have some equipment that can be towed.

Dennis hopes to have the boat ready for a few trial runs over the fall. The decision was to invite people who we would like to be players and have mini-talks, sample lessons to showcase what could be offered in the spring 2003. Late April – Oct would be the season when the boat could operate. Summer might be a program for families/tourists, CU adult ed and programs for high school students.

Boat Certification:
A passenger vessel taking people for hire gets very involved and has rigorous Coast Guard requirements. Even if not Coast Guard certified Dennis would meet those specs. There are a few things that could be omitted to save some costs if classified as a Research vessel. For example don’t have to have a licensed captain. If research vessel than could serve as the lab to go with the longer program that could take place in classroom. If not linked to a class, and only take money for boat rides then the vessel has to be Coast Guard certified. The boat has been certified in the past for 35-39 person occupancy. Railing would need to be higher if not certified as a Research Vessel.

Next Steps:
EPPOC will identify the partners and work on a list of potential resources, come up with the general idea, and look for funding. Once the program is running, we will need someone paid to maintain the program and make sure it all pulls together, promotes, schedules, etc. For the long run, a “floating classroom” steering committee will be set up to continue active involvement and cooperation between all interested organizations. Deb mentioned that the IO does not have the staff to take on a project of this size, or a fixed location. It would take grant funding and a dedicated staff person (probably not full time during the whole year). The Network with a steering committee would be a possible lead.

Others have already established these types of programs such as Lake George, St. Lawrence, and Clearwater on the Hudson. How did they get started? What do they teach? Various committee members volunteered to look into. Will compare with other “floating classrooms”. Lake George charges $15 per person with a 15 person minimum. If Lake George is land locked they would only need a pilots license. That would reduce their costs. Mary Arthur Bebe is likely to provide information on how they work. Suggest a field trip to look at their “floating classroom” program. Karin will contact Mary Arthur Bebe of the Lake George Association for more information.

EPPOC made a request for Dennis to get us some information on costs to run, maintain, captain, insurance. Dennis recommended we bring in the Chamber of Commerce early. Does it fit in with the waterfront revitalization plan? Finger Lakes Boating Museum – Dennis is on the Board. Would that help bring in member item money?

Budget for EPPOC

Karin is writing a grant from the Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat Network and Fund for $3,500 for the radio and television mass media campaign. For more immediate funding needs, Karin will ask the IO for funding for the following 2002 EPOOC projects:
• Funds for making slide shows for municipal official others.
• Radio PSA recording and ad broadcasting. Jerry will be asked to contact radio stations for the cost of taping.
• Fall Workshops-Modeled after “Neighbors Around Cayuga Lake” workshop, at 2 other locations in the watershed
• Floating classroom pilot trips in the Fall-2 promotional trips and 3 pilot educational trips

An additional idea we are looking at is placing ads before movies at Hoyts Cinemas and other local theaters. Lynn Leopold will find out what the cost of these ads is and if we can refer people to their local Cooperative Extension Offices for more information on the PSAs.

EPPOC will leave the Stenciling of Sewage drains idea for Spring 2003 as we have enough projects for this Spring!

Next Meeting: Tuesday, April 16 th, 2002 from 5:00pm-6:30pm, location TBA

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CLW IO 2002