July 27, 2023
The Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) recently awarded a grant of nearly $30,000 toward operation of the LGA’s Floating Classroom in 2024. The grant — the tenth for the Floating Classroom in the past 12 years — offsets half of the program’s costs. This enables the LGA to host students, residents, and area visitors at no- or low-cost on its Lake Protection cruises on Lake George.
Established in 1991, the hands-on Floating Classroom educates approximately 1,500 students (grades 3–12) and 400 adults every year about freshwater protection. The program consists of a two-hour boat ride on a 40-foot catamaran that accommodates 22 or so passengers, plus captain, first mate, and educator.
While aboard, participants run water clarity tests and learn about the geography and geological formation of Lake George, its watershed, food webs, and water clarity, chemistry, and quality issues.
In the fall and spring, when the Floating Classroom is dedicated to school trips, the program continues with two hours of stream monitoring at West Brook, focusing on the effects of the watershed’s natural processes on the Lake. By understanding how every action can impact the watershed, participants become better stewards of the Lake.
Funding from the LCBP grant helps the LGA offer the Floating Classroom free of charge to the nine public school districts, private schools, and home schools that serve children within the Lake George watershed. It also allows for low-fee trips for schools outside the watershed as well as other groups, such as summer camps and homeowner associations. The public, including visitors to Lake George, are invited to reserve tickets for any of the weekly trips held through July and August.
The LCBP grant is a Congressionally designated initiative to restore and protect Lake Champlain and its surrounding watershed. Lake George, which flows south to north into Lake Champlain, is part of that watershed. LCBP grants are administered by the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission.
For the last decade, the Floating Classroom has also received regular grants from the Helen and Ritter Shumway Foundation.