A student participates in the Floating Classroom, offered by the Lake George Association. The program has won an EPA award.
A program that gives students the chance to learn about aquatic sciences by getting onto the water has won a national award.
The Floating Classroom, run by the Lake George Association, has won a 2014 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Environmental Quality Award. The award was presented during ceremonies held April 23.
“It’s just very exciting to have been working on this project for so long and to receive a recognition like this for it,” said Kristen Rohne, Education Coordinator for LGA.
The Environmental Quality Award is the highest recognition presented to the public by the EPA. Each year, the EPA recognizes individuals, businesses, government agencies, environmental and community-based organizations and members of the media in EPA Region 2 who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to protecting and enhancing environmental quality and public health.
“We are so honored to be selected as a recipient for this prestigious award,” said Walt Lender, LGA Executive Director. “We are lucky here at Lake George to have such an amazing resource right here in our own backyard. For over 129 years the LGA has been working to protect the Lake, and creating the next generation of stewards through our Floating Classroom program for over 20 years is a privilege.”
Rohne said the theory behind the floating classroom is to allow children the chance to have hands-on experiences with science and Lake George.
“It gets the kids outside and making the connections to the science that we are talking about,” Rohne said.
Created in the early 1990s, the Floating Classroom has evolved over the years as the needs of the Lake have changed.
“When Asian clam was found in the Lake in the fall of 2010, we updated the program to teach participants about the clams, what they looked like, and what to do if they think they saw one,” said Emily DeBolt, LGA Outreach Coordinator. “Over 6,200 participants have learned about Asian clam since then aboard the boat.”
DeBolt was in charge of education programming at the LGA, including the Floating Classroom until last year, with Rohne now taking the reigns.
“Every year we get more interest from schools,” Rohne said. “We started with local schools and now we have them coming in from the Albany area.”
Since 1997, The Floating Classroom has educated over 21,000 participants and the Program set its record for the number of participants in 2013 at 2,228.
After spring school field trips are over, the LGA program offers trips for area residents and visitors during the summer.
For more information on the floating classroom, call 668-3558 or visit lakegeorgeassociation.org.