By: Donna Macalle-Holly
Each year, when LHF Communications Director Holly Odgers, asks me to put together an end-of-season summary for the Floating Classroom, I am always a little saddened. It means September is here and another summer season is quickly coming to an end.
But what a summer season we had on the Lake Hopatcong Foundation Floating Classroom during our 10th anniversary year! LHF staff, crew, and volunteer educators welcomed hundreds aboard the Floating Classroom during the summer of 2022.
Eco cruise guests enjoyed a day on the water while learning about water quality monitoring and how to protect our lake from LHF Executive Director Kyle Richter and Kean University Student Patrick Krudop along with volunteer educators. Using scientific equipment for a hands-on learning experience, guests tested the lake’s water clarity with Secchi disks, examined and studied phytoplankton and zooplankton using digital microscopes, and used meters to measure temperature, dissolved oxygen, and pH, all to better understand the health of Lake Hopatcong.
Public eco-cruises were offered on Mondays in July and August from Hopatcong State Park and, when possible, additional cruises were arranged for scouts, camps, and other groups. In addition, we hosted fifth-grade students from Lincoln Roosevelt School in Succasunna and groups from the Garden State Yacht Club and Peace by Piece thanks to three generous donors who bid on Floating Classroom experiences at our annual gala and auction.
Check out this AWESOME video Cranford Brownie Troop 40042 made after their cruise!
We were excited to offer our first historical cruises on the Floating Classroom this summer, which were funded in part by the NJ Council for the Humanities. Guests aboard the sold-out history cruises were treated to a nostalgic look back on Lake Hopatcong along with a discussion on how development and changes around the lake have played a role in water quality by LHF Board Chair and Lake Hopatcong Historical Museum President Marty Kane and LHF Executive Director Kyle Richter.
One of the operational challenges we faced this year for the first time since the vessel was launched, was the low water level in the lake. When the water level dropped under 8 feet, as measured by the height of the dam's crest at Hopatcong State Park, the vessel’s pontoons were almost on the bottom of the lake at our normal docking spot at the park. So, we were grateful that we were able to relocate the vessel to a dock by the Windlass restaurant and temporarily use the park’s floating dock for passenger boarding in order to avoid having to cancel any cruises.
Tickets for public cruises and reservations for group cruises for the 2023 season will be available next spring. Stay tuned for those announcements on our website and in our e-newsletter. We look for to cruising with you next year!
We truly appreciate the dedication, expertise, and can-do attitude of all our AMAZING educators and volunteers, as well as our captains and crew. We couldn't have it without you! Kudos to the entire team, thank you!
We’d also like to thank FirstEnergy Foundation, the Lake Hopatcong Elks, Princeton Hydro, the James P. Verhalen Family Foundation, and the New Jersey Council for the Humanities for their support of the 2022 Floating Classroom season, which helped keep ticket costs low. To learn more about Floating Classroom sponsorship opportunities for 2023, contact Caitlin Doran at email@example.com.
Finally, special thanks to: