In 2009, the 40-ft catamaran-style Rosalia Anna Ashby, named for LGA member Bruce Ashby’s mother, was built specifically to further the on-water aspect of the Lake George Association’s educational programming. The Floating classroom’s two-hour tour covers a variety of topics from earthquakes and glaciers to storm water and invasive species.
According to LGA Director of Communications Patrick Dowd, the Floating Classroom is open to all ages. Although the Rosalia Anna Ashby holds 30 passengers, groups as large as 60 can be accommodated by splitting the group and swapping between stream monitoring and the onboard lake programming.
“Part of the mission for us is to protect the water and education to the future,” says Dowd. “We want to talk to anglers, business people, homeowners, or visitors and help them keep their property up, their boats clean or to educate about invasive species. Lake George is classified as a AA- Special waterbody [the highest classification in New York State].”
The Floating Classroom goes out every day for summer camp and summer school programs, but Wednesdays are reserved for the public. With so many visitors and homeowners wanting to know more about the lake, LGA wanted to keep the conversation open to everyone interested in protecting the water of Lake George.
After a brief historical introduction to Lake George, the two-hour tour focuses on different water quality experiments. Participants learn about water clarity, food webs, nature protection and pollution control as well as water chemistry.
“Lake George has been a recreational lake for hundreds of years,” says Dowd. “It was a military highway in the 1760s. Development has added stress to the existing systems. Through proper education and management, we are helping to protect the lake. The Floating Classroom is one part of that process. We are currently conducting a milfoil invasive species swim. We help with mandatory boat inspection stations. It’s a wide variety of things to keep the lake protected. It is a true mix of things.”
The Lake George Association Floating Classroom public sessions leave from the Lake George Village Dock each Wednesday Two sessions are offered, 10 am – noon and 1-3 pm program. Reservations are required and the cost is $17 for adults and $10 for children under 18.
photo of the LGA Floating Classroom is used with permission