By: Donna Macalle-Holly
Whether or not you were able to join us onboard our Floating Classroom, “Study Hull,” this season, it was wonderful to have her back on the lake again. Last year, the Floating Classroom was kept under wraps, shrink wrap that is, due to the pandemic. And although we were still unable to have students on board the Floating Classroom for our spring field trips, which had to be virtual for the second year in a row, we were able to educate hundreds of passengers during our public cruises from Hopatcong State Park this summer.
Besides offering environmental education cruises where passengers learn all about protecting Lake Hopatcong, while taking part in experiments such as water clarity testing with Secchi disks, collecting and studying phytoplankton from the lake, and other science-based activities, we also hosted other dignitaries and groups on the Floating Classroom, providing an on-the-water experience to view, learn about, and discuss important lake matters.
Following a May 25 press event at Hopatcong State Park, NJ DEP Commissioner NJDEP Commissioner Shawn LaTourette, State Senators Tony Bucco and Steven Oroho, Hopatcong Mayor Mike Francis, Jefferson Township Mayor Wilsusen, Roxbury Township Mayor DeFillippo, and representatives from NJDEP and Morris and Sussex Counties toured the lake on the Floating Classroom to get a firsthand look at some of the demonstration projects that have been implemented to help mitigate HABs and to talk about issues impacting Lake Hopatcong.
In July, Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill and her staff were joined by State Senators Tony Bucco and Steven Oroho, Morris County Commissioner Director Stephen Shaw, Morris County Commissioner John Krickus, Sussex County Commissioner Sylvia Petillo, Hopatcong Mayor Mike Francis, Jefferson Mayor Eric Wilsusen, for a lake tour to express their thoughts, issues, and concerns. We also hosted Assemblywoman Aura Dunn for a tour and update on the lake.
In addition, we were delighted to host staff members from First Energy, F.M. Kirby Foundation, and New Jersey Council for the Humanities who provide generous grant funding to the Lake Hopatcong Foundation. To view the FirstEnergy story and video on the Floating Classroom, click here. Spotlight New Jersey was on board in July and you can see their story and video here.
A very special thank you to FirstEnergy Foundation, Princeton Hydro, and The James P. Verhalen Family Foundation for sponsoring our 2021 Floating Classroom season. Not only do we graciously acknowledge and give a shout-out to our sponsors on all our public cruises and have their name prominently displayed onboard, but their sponsorship dollars help keep the ticket cost reasonably priced. To learn more about Floating Classroom sponsorship opportunities for 2022, contact Caitlin Doran at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And, as always, thank you to our talented Captains and all-volunteer crew. In the coming weeks, we will be announcing some exciting news about our cruise schedule for next year! Thanks to all for a great 2021 season.